CoMon: Collaborative Monitoring for Sustainable Development of Lake Tana UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (Ethiopia)

Collaborative Monitoring for Sustainable Development
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Management of Conservation Areas MSc

In the project Collaborative Monitoring for Sustainable Development of Lake Tana UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (Ethiopia), an interdisciplinary team will work together with scientists from Bahir Dar University (BDU, Ethiopia) and Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (CUAS, Austria).

In a two-year project, the methods and possibilities for collaborative monitoring of biodiversity will be explored and further developed. Collaborative monitoring is a form of citizen science, so the necessary technologies and devices must be configured in a very simple and user-friendly way.

The case study of the water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), an aggressive neophyte, will be investigated. This species has recently invaded Lake Tana, posing a great threat to the ecosystem services of the lake and the livelihoods of the local population.

Collaborative monitoring should make it possible to integrate the knowledge and capacities of non-scientists and stakeholders into the research process. This enables better, more widely accepted and "socially robust" results of a scientific project. The technical background for this monitoring project shall be developed by combining remote sensing data from the European Copernicus programme (Sentinel) with SMART tools for terrestrial surveys in a GIS Environment. SMART tools are increasingly being used in the management of protected areas in Ethiopia.

The project takes place in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This is a "learning region for sustainable development" and thus supports any effort toward Sustainable Development Goals. In the project, two goals (Goal 14 “Life Below Water” and Goal 15 “Life on Land”) shall be specifically addressed. The project is in line with the research agenda of Lake Tana UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Against this background, the project should also open up long-term prospects for scientific cooperation between BDU and CUAS.

Financed by: AfriNet Programme, OEAD