Managing Forest and Aquatic Wildlife Through a User-Friendly Mobile Tool
Tayabas and Pagbilao Bays are major fishing grounds of three coastal municipalities in Quezon Province – Tayabas, Pagbilao and Sariaya. Nourished by protected areas and a biodiversity rich mangrove forest, these bays are also home to a rich forest and aquatic wildlife that are susceptible to threats because of illegal and destructive practices in seagrass areas and sanctuaries, mangrove cutting and conversion of mangrove areas. To aid in the conservation efforts directed towards these natural resources, Center for Conservation Innovation PH Inc. (CCIPH) together with Tanggol Kalikasan (TK), Dalubhasaan ng Lungsod ng Lucena (DLL) and Southern Luzon State University (SLSU) developed the operational prototype of the Wildlife, Forestry and Fisheries Indicator Spatial Hub – Management Information System (WiForFISHMIS) to be used by local patrollers (bantay-dagat and bantay-gubat), data managers from the local government unit, and other law enforcement and wildlife monitoring personnel in Tayabas, Pagbilao and Sariaya.
WiForFISH-MIS aims to enhance the Coastal Resources Management Planning and Enforcement of Tayabas and Pagbilao Bays by utilizing the combination of Spatial Management and Reporting Tool (SMART) for database management, and the CyberTracker application for data collection. WiForFISH-MIS was born out of several workshops to ensure suitability and ease of use in collecting (1) field data, (2) measuring, evaluating and improving the effectiveness of plant and animal wildlife monitoring, (3) law enforcement patrols and (4) site-based conservation activities. It was specially crafted to be user-friendly among local patrollers and stakeholders.
SMART and CyberTracker are software development toolkits that are free for application developers and can be useful even for those without any computer programming background. The software toolkit has a database configuration that stores data on threats and biodiversity information collected during patrols. This information is then processed to produce maps of the locations of threats and biodiversity with a feedback and reporting mechanism. Data are collected and processed in real-time.
In 2017, Tanggol Kalikasan Inc. together with Center for Conservation Innovations Philippines conducted a three-day Pilot Testing and Simulation of WiForFISH-MIS to capacitate patrollers and data managers in using the WiForFISH-MIS. Participants were from the LGUs of Tayabas, Pagbilao and Sariaya.