Development of the National Biodiversity Information Management System & Monitoring Program (BIMS)
RSCN has adopted in the last two decades scientific research, where different research programs were carried in the protected areas to guide its management, and monitor the changes in both ecological and social integrity. These accumulative studies have left behind a huge set of information, in many aspects of biological and ecological directions, unfortunately poorly set in an organized and easy accessed kind of archives.
This issue was not neglected in the transformation process that RSCN went through in 2010-2011, where management information system (MIS) was on top key recommendations both as an IT platform and as a unit within the RSCN. The MIS fulfils a number of critical objectives for the organization which justify the submission of such a proposal.
At the national level, the lack of such information management system increases the load on RSCN to prepare the data every time when these data are requested.
The national needs-including RSCN interest to build up the MIS- met the priority of the GEF/UNPD project entitled: “Biodiversity in Tourism Sector” under the output 2.1: “Biodiversity Information Management System (BIMS), founded on initial ecological surveys to inform Land Use Plans, serve as a platform for decision-making, and as a source of up-to-date knowledge on biodiversity” and output 2.3: “Biodiversity Monitoring System to update and maintain the BIMS, identify trends and ensure that any changes in biodiversity-important areas remain within acceptable limits; to include remedial measures that will be triggered by the monitoring” based on this an agreement was signed between the GEF/UNDP and the RSCN to develop a national “Biodiversity Information Management System and Monitoring Program”.
The project is to develop and maintain a national system for biodiversity information and a monitoring system, to be led and maintained in the future by the RSCN in close collaboration with all key national stakeholders and beneficiaries.
The assignment will be dealing with four integrated and parallel connected components. These components are: the building of management information system, ecological and socio-economic baseline surveys for three sites: Jerash Governorate (with particular focus on the Dibeen Forest Reserve and its associated ecological units), PDTRA territory, and the Wider Wadi Rum Landscape within the boundaries of the Aqaba Region, establishing a monitoring system based on clear and well identified indicators, and finally, train the onsite personnel and relevant stakeholders to run, update, and monitor the system.
Component 1: Build-up the Biodiversity Information Monitoring System (BIMS)
RSCN will start building the information management system based on a desktop review of the available sets of data for the three sites of interest “to the project- namely: Jerash, PDTRA territory, and the Wider Wadi Rum Landscape.
This analysis will build on existing ecological information and well address the gaps and priorities through a wide and large scale desktop review. Analysis results will form the foundation of the BIMS database which will be updated based on the proposed set of surveys resulted by the analysis. The BIMS will be developed on a GIS platform, aligned with the RSCN national Database and integrated with databases that exist for each of the PAs managed by the organization and other key partners.
Component 2: Baseline Surveys
A field baseline surveys protocol will be developed and directly carried to fill in the identified gaps of information and end up with a proper up to date eco-values zonation maps in association with social values and geological values for the three sites. The collected data will be used in the other hand to update the contents of the BIMS and to setup the monitoring indicators.
The results of this Output will inform land use planning activities by the project .It will also provide the foundation for the monitoring system to be developed. Since the BIMS will be available for access by the various stakeholders, RSCN will deliver a nationwide as well as local level publicity campaign to inform about its value, availability and accessibility.
Component 3: Monitoring System
Based on indicators that will be identified through the desktop and field review, a monitoring system will be installed to check on the quality and quantity of these indicators. This system is plan to be easily measured, and documented. It will also keep the BIMS updated continuously.
The monitoring systems will be designed by a team of experts coordinated by the RSCN. The approach and methodology to be used, the principles and objectives, and the capacity and know-how requirements will be developed initially at the central level. Working with the relevant authorities, the Working Group will then test the Monitoring System at each of the project localities following training and capacity enhancements of local personnel.
After implementing any necessary refinements and adjustments, the Monitoring System for each of Jerash, Petra and Wadi Rum, which will be used as a pilot for the more nationally-oriented system. The Working Group will also assist RSCN, MOMA, PDTRA and ASEZA to develop contingency plans for dealing with any worrying trends and other results of concern which might arise from the monitoring activity. Among the inputs for this Output, the assignment will assist with the procurement of any necessary monitoring equipment and training for its use, the implementation and evaluation of the trials at local level, and the contingency planning noted above.
Component 4: Training
A well-defined training program based on a proper need analysis will be delivered for the relevant stakeholder’s personnel. In addition to the capacity building of the assigned staff, the aim of this training at the long run is to maintain the BIMS updated, and sustain the suggested monitoring program. Updating of both BIMS and monitoring program will be part of those trainees responsibilities at organizational level.
Database link: www.bims.rscn.org.jo