The workshop brought together conservation organizations interested in setting up ecosystem monitoring practices in northern Tanzania under the umbrella of the Borderlands Conservation Initiative (BCI) and the Northern Tanzania Rangeland Initiative (NTRI). The two-day training workshop included participants from HoneyGuide (HG), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Tanzania People and Wildlife (TPW) and Progetto Oikos. The Uaso Nyiro Baboon Project in Kenya also attended. The workshop was conducted by David Western, Victor Mose and David Maitumo of the Amboseli Conservation Program (ACP) and the African Conservation Centre (ACC), with support from the Amboseli Resource Assessors (RA’s), Paul Kasaine, Samuel Lekanaiya and George Sunte. The workshop covered the monitoring techniques developed and conducted in the Amboseli ecosystem over many years. The workshop was designed for heads of programs and those overseeing the monitoring. Training for community-based RAs will be given on the ground, preferably in Tanzania, once candidates have been appointed.
An introduction to the long-term monitoring Amboseli program was given on site in Amboseli on 14th August ahead of the workshop. The workshop, held at Big Life on Mbirikani Group Ranch, took place on 15th and 16th August, demonstrated all aspects of monitoring design, methodology, field equipment, data storage, and applications to range-land conservation and management. The workshop began with a demonstration of how to measure a range-land plots and code, record, enter and process data using open source software to produce rapid statistical and visual outputs for immediate application.
The workshop covered the following aspects, including designing and setting up an ecological monitoring scheme, sampling
design, tools, and communicating the findings to decision-makers and on websites. The role of RAs and their value in collecting and providing information to their communities has grown steadily in recent years and includes, natural resource mapping; land use surveys; testing and assessing the impact of development and restoration programs; socioeconomic and attitudinal surveys, and Information communication and outreach.
SETTING UP AND INTEGRATING MONITORING PROGRAMS
The final session discussed how to set up, fund, integrate and coordinate rangeland monitoring among the participating partners in northern Tanzania between partnering organizations in Kenya. It drew heavily on the organizational approach for coordinating research, planning and management adopted by the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust. HG, Oikos, TPW and WCS have submitted a proposal to US AID under the umbrella of NTRI to set up monitoring programs in northern Tanzania. The organizations present agreed to link up monitoring projects southern Kenya and northern Tanzania through BCI’s community-driven program. Subject to funding availability, ACP will set up a Windows-based platform that includes databases and analytical packages based on open-source software.
The workshop concluded with an agreement to work towards a common website that would provide a monthly assessment of range conditions across the borderlands region and early-warnings of pasture shortfalls and hard times for wildlife and livestock.
David Muiruri of the Uaso Nyiro Baboon Projects attended as an observer and Howard Fredrick of the Tanzania Conservation Resource Centre joined the field program in Amboseli.