Bringing people and forests together

The community of Dolav, in Vanuatu, is embedded in a diverse and beautiful landscape. Sitting on the west coast of Gaua island, it is rich in plant and animal life, surrounded by large tracts of primary forest, clear ocean and clean beaches.

The people of Dolav treasure these ecosystems and their resources, so, to protect them, they worked with Live & Learn Vanuatu to establish a Community Conservation Area (CCA) in 2019, the Malaklolop CCA.

Maintaining a CCA like Malaklolop requires ongoing biodiversity monitoring. The Community-based Monitoring of Biodiversity and Forests of Vanuatu project has helped address this necessity on Dolav and five other communities, working alongside local people to provide the skills needed to oversee their conservation areas.

‘The monitoring of biodiversity and forests of Vanuatu is very important,’ says Trevor Muerifar, Project Officer for the IKI Small Grants project, which is funding this work. ‘In order to train this local expertise, we have developed a Ranger Toolkit booklet. It gives them guidance to carry out the biodiversity monitoring.’

In addition to creating the 11-module toolkit to help train the local rangers, Live & Learn Vanuatu is working with Samoan IT company SKYEYE IT to transfer the content to an app to make it easier to learn and do the biodiversity monitoring. Soon the team hopes the app can be launched to help rangers across Vanuatu.

This work is assisting on a national level, contributing feedback and data on management and resource monitoring strategies to improve governance for CCA rangers and committees across Vanuatu, helping other communities understand and care for their local ecosystems. Biodiversity monitoring data is being sent to the Department of Environment, Protection & Conservation to help in national decision making on climate change, natural disasters, biodiversity and conservation.

Many government sectors, NGOs and CSOs are looking at the rangers program for advocacy of disaster preparation, biodiversity monitoring in conservation, and the promotion of ecotourism activities in communities.

The Community-based Monitoring of Biodiversity and Forests of Vanuatu project (IKI Small Grants Project) is funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and implemented by Live & Learn Vanuatu.

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