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Forest patrol system levels up

 

forest patrol systemThe web-based mobile application dubbed Lawin Forest Biodiversity Protection System (LFBPS) launched on March 10, 2016 to monitor conservation areas has upgraded into a more extensive monitoring system.

Enforcement Division Chief Joel S. Daquioag lauded this move for efficiency in the transmission, consolidation and analysis of patrol data during the SMART Connect for LFBPS Learning Event on Feb. 27-28, this year at the Crown Pavilion, Tuguegarao City.

“The Lawin System has been streamlined in the forest protection activities targeting a total patrol of 1,800 kilometers for this year. It is very useful and improves our advocacies, as all forms of threat in the forest are detected through our forest patrollers,” said Forester Daquioag.

The system, developed by the DENR and the Biodiversity and Wildlife Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER), is operated through an open-source software called “CyberTracker” for data collection interface and the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) for data analysis, mapping and report generation.

It aims to improve the response mechanisms to address wildlife threats within the forests and protected areas of the Cagayan Valley Region.

Equipped with Global Positioning System, the SMART Connect features the collection and sharing of field data in real time; manages and responses to real time alerts to enable more effective and rapid operational responses; centrally manages SMART deployments at multiple times; and enhances analysis, visualization and impact of SMART data for decision making by integrating with other systems.
In his message, OIC, Regional Director, Atty. Gil A. Aromin, emphasized that there is a need to capacitate the forest rangers, extension officers and forest protection officers (FPOs) on the use of the mobile system to further improve the implementation of forest protection and law enforcement activities.

The 38 patrol teams composed of 204 forest rangers, forest protection officers and extension officers had a total patrol of 1,355.84 kilometers from July 2016 to January 2017. Adopting the forest conservation area plans of the different Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices, the forest condition and indicator species were observed.

The top five observed threats were: presence of hut/house and other infrastructure, 31 percent; cutting of trees, 29 percent; annual and perennial farming, 16 percent; slash-and-burn farming, 14 percent; and charcoal making, 10 percent. These observations were immediately responded to by the concerned Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officers.

Facilitated by representatives of the Forest Management Bureau and Chemonics International, Inc. (B+WISER), the learning event educated the participants on how to install and manipulate the upgraded software that will be used in data analysis after conducting forest patrol and biodiversity assessment. Patrol data can now be recorded per CENRO.

B+WISER Biodiversity and Forestry Specialist Felix Gaschick discussed the features of the application. He said the system has become more embracing because through the interconnection of database, monitoring and access of data are easier and better.

“The system has now started to roll out to the different DENR offices nationwide,” Specialist Gaschick added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rodolfo B. Santos Jr., Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist of the B+WISER convened the FPOs for the formulation of process for responding to observed threats.

“Technology will not protect the forest, it is the people who are. They are the ones doing the activity that is why we need to enhance them and come up with a generic protocol which will apply to all situations,” Dr. Santos emphasized.

As an output, the FPOs were able to formulate a response framework stressing the procedure to respond to data-driven reports particularly on kaingin farming and establishment of buildings/structures in protected areas.

RD Aromin congratulated the 43 forest patrollers in the closing program of the Learning Event.

“I hope that the knowledge you have gained will be applied by heart for a more productive workforce so that our mandate to protect the environment will always be there. We count on you as our partners in forest protection and conservation,” the Cagayan Valley chief enthused. #CAT