Mapping hotspots and priorities
It is not possible to preserve all natural capital in every location across the globe. Decision makers must choose where to focus their conservation efforts, what levels of resource utilization to permit and how to manage and control utilization in practice. Some areas are more important than others for biodiversity and ecosystem services, and governments have made commitments through the Convention on Biological Diversity and other mechanisms to focus their management efforts on these areas. But where are these places?
At UNEP-WCMC we specialize in mapping spatial data related to biodiversity and ecosystem services, to visualize ‘hotspots’ and facilitate discussion about priorities for conservation and management. Our in-depth understanding of the issues allows us to help formulate the standards for defining such areas, as well as identifying them in map layers. And with online tools, we’re opening new opportunities for stakeholders to feed into these processes.
The Blue Carbon Tool, built as part of the Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project, provides spatial information on coastal wetlands in the Emirate and their related carbon stock. The Blue Carbon App makes this tool available in the field, allowing users to validate and update habitat map layers in situ on a tablet-based application, and later synchronize their changes with the online Blue Carbon Tool.
The Blue Carbon Mapping Portal aims to develop these tools even further. By including crowd-sourcing technology, citizen scientists will be able to help validate remotely-sensed data from seagrass, saltmarsh and mangrove habitats and submit images to support their findings. The combination of enhanced spatial information with carbon sampling data will help to build an accurate picture of the global significance of blue carbon for climate change mitigation.
See also our featured work on the Ocean Data Viewer.