JRS Announces Three Grants for Access to Biodiversity Information in Africa
African Conservation Centre (2014)
Biodiversity Knowledgebase to Support Decision-making in Kenya
Last Updated: August 17th, 2020
Kenya is home to rich as well as endangered biodiversity that is an important global and national treasure that underpins Kenya’s economy and sustainaiblity. Data on Kenya’s biodiversity is not readily available to stakeholders. The African Conservation Centre US supports the African Conservation Centre (Kenya), a non profit made up of professionals from different disciplines, including conservation biology, natural resource management, community conservation, and bioinformatics. ACC has been involved in mobilizing biodiversity knowledge and synthesizing biodiversity information for decision making at a national level and in key conservation areas. The goal of this project is to create a web portal of biodiversity information to support decision making in Kenya. The project will bring together a network of biodiversity data holders to increase data availability and public information access. The platform will be open access, and support data acquisition, storage, visualization, and analysis for a variety of uses while maintaining standards to facilitate data exchange and scalability for application in Kenya and East Africa. The initial data sets will come from the partners in the Kenya National Biodiversity Atlas that will shortly be published by the Kenyan Ministry of the Environment. Important implementation partners in this project are the National Museums of Kenya, The Jetz Lab at Yale University, Map of Life, and Upande Ltd.
Key Objectives and Activities
- Determine key biodiversity datasets useful to support decision making processes.
- Develop web portal to consolidate key data.
- Develop national and county level tools (Kwale and Kajiado Couties) for spatial visualization, analysis, and reporting.
- Outreach and training to build capacity among lead local agencies, ACC and National Museums of Kenya and by Map of Life and UPANDE to help teach web development skills and how to communicate with maps.
- All biodiversity related data made available on the online portal for the Natural Capital of Kenya project.
- Tools for mapping and analysis of the data will be developed for the priority target audience for download and application, hopefully reaching 200 registered users and 500 downloads.
- Regionally the project will provide a use‐case and value proposition for creating and promoting regional biodiversity knowledge portals in Kajiado and Kwale.
- Tools for engaging natural resource managers as well as citizens will be developed.
- Training in biodiversity informatics for key staff through project partners.
The Kenya Biodiversity Atlas will provide high quality information and data for research, policy development, management and planning in order to develop more effective means of sustaining Kenya’s biodiversity. Through this multi-functional tool, biodiversity information can be incorporated into decision-making and planning processes at a county and national level. Through this platform, people will share knowledge and information about biodiversity through their networks, and more diverse audiences will engage with biodiversity data. Additional counties will also seek to become partners and volunteer to publish their data.
Results to Date
- In 2014 ACC completed a first version of the online Biodiversity Atlas of Kenya that was launched in 2015 with published hard copies available at no cost to various agencies, research institutions and the general public.
- Two counties, Kwale and Kajiado counties have county level web-portals for biodiversity data as part of the website.
- The web portal is open access, and supports data acquisition, storage, visualization, and analysis of various data.
- Spatial planning tools are available on the webpage for download.
- At least 450 web visitors and 100 unique registered users have visited the webpage.
Project Director Biography
Lucy Waruingi is from a statistics and computer science background and has a Masters degree in GIS from Manchester Metropolitan University. Lucy has worked as head of ICT and GIS at ACC and later on as Head of Programmes and Deputy Director before taking on her current position. Her interest is in integrating knowledge bases to provide relevant synthesized information that would influence conservation action and her skills are in GIS, spatial and statistical analysis, and she is currently developing local, regional and international networks in biodiversity informatics.
Notes from JRS
JRS has a strong interest in eastern Africa and the biodiversity of countries such as Kenya that is so vital to Kenya’ economy, sustainable development, and natural legacy. Though there is rich data on Kenya’s biodiversity, it is not accessible or easily visualized for decision making. At the end of 2014 for example, there were almost 450,000 species occurrence records in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility for Kenya, none of the them published by Kenyan data publishers. Rich datasets from within Kenya were mobilized to compile the forthcoming Atlas of Kenya’s biodiversity and this project should make that data available on-line. We hope that a high profile portal with excellent partners will help bring data into the public domain and that the specific portals for Kajiado and Kwale counties will create demand for additional data and analyses. We believe that capacity building takes trusting partners who do not have the capacity for project implementation at the time of the award. A key opportunity of this project is for all the project partners transfer know-how and tools to create a platform that is sustainable over the long-term. We also aim to learn about different technical solutions to national data portals and what technology and process is well-suited for the financial, technical and human resources in Kenya and other African countries.