Representatives of 30 selected communities in the Bibiani, Sefwi Wiawso, and Sefwi Juaboso forest districts have undergone training on how to use digital technologies to monitor the forest. This is to empower forest communities, forest officials, fire service officials and the police with real-time digital technology to monitor illegal deforestation activities in their respective districts.
As part of the objective of the project, series of training workshops were organized for the selected community representatives, district fire service officials, police and forest officials to build their capacity on digital tools used for forest monitoring. They were introduced to GPS, Global Forest Watch (GFW) Interactive Map and the Forest Watcher App as well as the Open Data Kit (ODK) and how to use these technologies to record and gather data on illegal deforestation.
Communities’ representatives were taken through how GFW such as the Interactive Map could be used to observe the state of vegetation in their respective areas and also monitor the trends of vegetation loss. Further, they were made aware of how the GFW mobile application could enable one to receive real-time information on illegal deforestation as and when it happens, providing locations to assist with tracking of forest crime by authorities.
Assisting communities to access GFW data with mobile phones
Following the sensitization and training workshops, there were field visits to forests fringing the communities with the beneficiaries to identify deforestation hotspots and take coordinates of those spots. Some community members had the opportunity to try their hands on the GPS to record data. The participatory mapping saw communities effectively engaged in the identification of deforested areas in the forest. They mentioned that these tools will help them provide evidence-based information to forest authorities.
Real-time digital technology enables communities to have access to relevant digital information concerning the operations in the forest so that they can take the necessary action. The community members were made to understand that the use of digital technologies and Global Forest Watch (GFW) data has far-reaching impacts on forest governance at local levels.
The funding for the project was provided by the World Resources Institute under the Global Forest Watch Project.