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"Relevance of ROSELT/OSS Programme in Maintaining the Ecological Integrity of Protected Areas and Surrounding Lands"

Jesse Njoka

The ecological changes taking place in protected areas are both due to natural processes and human activities. In the absence of long term monitoring data from the protected areas it is difficult to distinguish these two types of changes. Various initiatives to monitor these changes using modern technologies such as remote sensing devices among others are being tested in an uncoordinated fashion. There is need for establishing long -term ecological observatories at the local level to monitor the ecological integrity of protected areas and the adjacent buffer zones to obtain sound scientific data on the interaction of the local human population and the natural resources, especially with respect to those within the protected areas. The goal of the Réseau d'Observatoires de Surveillance Ecologique à Long Terme (ROSELT) programme is to monitor these changes on a long-term basis to generate scientific information for decision-making in development and for conservation of ecological integrity.

The ROSELT programme also seeks to identify management indicators at the local observatory level. Each observatory includes both the protected areas and systems altered through agriculture or urban development. The programme involves several countries participating as member countries of OSS.

In order to assess how the natural system is changing with time, ROSELT seeks to establish a baseline map / state of the area under each observatory against which changes can be monitored in the future. The programme has identified several observatories which are representative of the important ecological zones in the drylands. The baseline study involves compilation of existing information from previous studies and selection of the minimum data set to be collected on a regular basis at the lowest cost. Selection of indicators, which will assist decision-makers to assess trends in the ecological integrity of protected areas as well as areas under agriculture, will be an important output of this programme. These indicators will monitor changes in the ecological, social, economic and management trends of protected areas and surrounding areas. A well-designed monitoring and evaluation model will be able to detect threatening processes such as those related to invasive species, poaching, natural resources conflicts, and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources.

Since the pilot observatories in each participating country are certified in terms of the quality of scientific data that is collected, this certification process can be extended to protected area systems as well as to areas beyond the boundaries of protected areas. The ROSELT programme is relevant at the local level for each observatory, but several observatories at the nation level will scale-up the ability to detect problems that imply the need for policy change. This approach will also scale-up interpretation of information at sub-regional and regional levels.


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Biography for
Jesse Njoka

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