BirdLife: The Magazine Jan-Mar 2018 - Page 57

Golden-mantled Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus pulcherrimus Photo Matt West Between Roots and Canopy Growing local involvement in forest governance & monitoring in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and The Philippines F orests provide priceless services for the planet – but they are also people’s homes. And when it comes to gathering information, there is no substitute for local knowledge. Local people know the lie of the land and can see the health of the ecosystem first-hand. So it stands to reason that they should play a key role in monitoring and making decisions about the forest in which they live. Sadly, the power of local communities and indigenous people is often constrained by lack of technical knowledge, experience and political influence. The Forest Governance Project plans to change that. The tropical forests of Asia and the Western Pacific are special. Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines hold over 154 million hectares of globally significant biodiversity hotspots. These havens house amazing Critically Endangered species such as Golden-mantled Tree Kangaroo Dendrolagus pulcherrimus of Papua New Guinea, and Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil of Malaysia. But they are also under threat from deforestation. That’s why the Forest Governance Project, led by BirdLife and funded by the European Union, is training people to manage and protect their own forest. Global Forest Watch is a new app that uses satellites to watch the Earth’s forest canopies. When one pixel in the image changes, which could signify trees being felled, the app alerts the user so that they can respond. This technology will be rolled out to local partners in the field, with their findings used to bring about real policy change. From local eyes and ears on the floor, to satellites above the trees, the Forest Governance Project will ensure that these precious forests are protected. Project funded by European Union Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil Photo Bjorn Olesen Find out more about our Forest Governance Project at www.birdlife.org/forest-governance A community education programme in a Maui village, Papua New Guinea Photo Jean Thomas 57