The Frontier-Madagascar Marine Research Programme (FMMRP) is based in the Bay of Diego-Suarez in the northern tip of Madagascar. Since 2005 the research group has been conducting extensive biological and socio-economic surveys of the bay and surrounding area. This enabled FMMRP to map the different habitats and their environmental condition, build a dataset of the local resource use and uncover potential environmentally unsustainable activities affecting the bay.
Funded by PADI Project Aware the MEAREW project aims to increase environmental awareness and education among local stakeholders and produce a mural for display in Diego Suarez town centre, highlighting the importance of a healthy marine ecosystem. Educational materials were also produced in the form of a teacher's resource pack (which included 4 lesson plans and 4 colourful teaching aids) and posters that covered subjects like: biodiversity, sustainable fishing, fun science facts and threats facing Diego Suarez Bay.
Through a series of workshops directed towards school children, local resources users (fisherman) and local government officials, the project was able to reach a large section of the local community. The mural was designed and produced by local school children with the help of the FMMRP staff, and proved to be a highly successful way of raising awareness among the school children.
The following workshop reports were produced:
The overall project purpose was to design and implement a training programme in conservation and monitoring techniques to build the capacity of local regional institutions and stakeholders to sustainably manage resources in the Pacific North region of Nicaragua.
Through funding by the Darwin Initiative the CBNPR project developed a BTEC course in Conservation Management to train local Natural Reserve Rangers. The course was divided into four subject areas; Biodiversity Assessment, Conservation Management Strategies, Conservation and Society, and Conservation Initiatives. The course was delivered over a period of 6 weeks, which involved four weeks classroom tutorials and then an additional two weeks practical field exercises. The CBNPR project also trained local community members in turtle hatchery management and produced biodiversity reports and management plans for three protected areas in the Pacific North Region of Nicaragua.
The success of this project in the Pacific North region of Nicaragua has led Frontier to apply for post-project funding from the Darwin Initiative to create a training programme that will reach all protected area staff and ascociated NGO's in Nicaragua. Any further developments with this project will be posted on the Frontier website.
The training project was conducted in the southwest region of Madagascar in the area around the town of Toliara, where the marine and coastal areas was deemed to coming under increasing pressure. The aim of the project was to aid marine resource security by providing skills to monitor and manage marine biodiversity through the provision of a training programme. The project focused on raising knowledge of marine and coastal ecology, providing training in marine biodiversity monitoring and survey methods, promoting sustainable resource use and management, and assisting with the establishment of a specific habitat management plan. Trainees for the programme were selected from local coastal communities, fisheries officers and students from the Institute of Marine Sciences.
Prior to the start of the training programme a perpose build training centre was established in Anakao (40 km south of Toliara) at the Frontier-Madagascar Research Station. This was to insure that trainees would benefit from on-site accommodation, a classroom and access to a library. Fort each trainee group a specific set of objectives was created to focus the training programme to cater to each stakeholders educational and knowledge level.
Over the course of the project four workshops were held to impart critical knowledge to interested parties and stakeholders. Each of the four workshops covered a different subject, directed towards the specific focus of the trainee group's objectives. The subjects presented were:
The training programme proved successful with all three groups gaining knowledge and skills in marine biology. The trainees were encouraged to provide constructive feedback after the course and workshops were completed and all gave positive remarks on the project.
The aim of this project is to promote the importance of turtle conservation on the island of Gau through providing education to local schools and stakeholder groups, with the intent of reducing levels of unsustainable hunting of green and hawksbill turtles. This is achieved by distributing educational materials to local schools in order to implement conservation awareness programs at all age levels through the provision of workshop materials, and through encouraging local community groups and decision makers to police nearby nesting areas,. A vital activity we carry out is to locate nesting beaches on the island of Gau and create seasonally protected areas, policed by volunteers from the local community.
Through this we hope to eventually increase awareness in the local community of the need for conservation measures to protect green and hawksbill turtles, to reduce the pressures on turtle populations by combating unsustainable harvesting practices. The implementation of seasonal policing of nesting beaches to minimise egg collection is also a priority.
Progress so far:
This work has drawn on our collaboration with the University of South Pacific (USP) who have a great deal of experience in community based turtle conservation, and have provided educational materials and offered guidance and personnel to conduct the turtle warden workshops. We utilise and distribute educational materials produced by WWF and in our school workshops. We have sourced and developed visual tools to be used at community and educational workshops. Posters and information leaflets have been disseminated across the island. We visited schools to consult the teachers about the current curriculum and how we can best integrate our educational materials into their current Marine Resources module. We have presented the project and materials to the island School Committee, island Council, and Ministry of Educations and received their approval and support to continue with our work.
We plan to continue with this project to fulfil the following aims:
The primary aim of Frontier-Vietnam was to provide the scientific documentation needed to assess the biological and ecological values of protected areas. Working in largely un-surveyed territory, Frontier-Vietnam made many exciting discoveries. In just nine months of work in the Hoang Lien Nature Reserve, Sa Pa, three new genera and seven new species of insect were described. When collated the number of new species discovered by Frontier-Vietnam is impressive: over a hundred new moths, several new butterflies and two new frog species have all been described.
Bai Tu Long Bay National Park, Quang Ninh Province. This project ran from 2001 - 2003, funded by the Darwin Initiative and ran in line with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's Biodiversity Action Plan. A new Biodiversity Interpretation Centre was set up by Frontier-Vietnam to raise community awareness of the importance of biodiversity within the national park. This comprehensive centre is enhancing the knowledge of local communities and foreign visitors, thereby helping protect the fragile ecosystem of the park. Park staff and Vietnamese post-graduate students were trained in species monitoring and identification to increase their conservation capabilities. In addition, international co-operation among taxonomists was initiated through this project. British taxonomical field experts produced bi-lingual taxonomic field guides and information. These guides are specific to the park and were created in biodiversity training workshops, involving the local communities as well as the park staff and Vietnamese students. The attendees of the biodiversity-awareness training workshops participated in the collection and collation of data for the field guides and design of biodiversity information boards for the centre. Centre staff are able to use these materials to run biodiversity awareness activities for the local community. This project worked in association with the Institute of Ecology and Biological Research, Hanoi, and the Institute of Oceanography, Hanoi / Hai Phong. The outcomes have left a legacy with Bai Tu Long Bay and highlighted the need to match biodiversity conservation with economic development to achieve sustainable management.
Sa Pa District, Lao Cai Project. Running from 2001 - 2004, this project aimed to enable sustainable livelihoods for local communities. The Sa Pa district lies East of Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam. The Hoang Lien Son Nature Reserve lies at the south-eastern most part of the Himalayan mountain chain and at the convergence of three distinct biomes. This plus the highly seasonal climate provides an area of potentially outstanding biodiversity. Frontier investigated the feasibility of incorporating an environmental component into the existing primary school curriculum together with assessing the potential for ecotourism in the area. This project was the first time an environmental education curriculum had been produced in Vietnam. This was achieved through a combination of approaches aimed at increasing environmental awareness and distributing information on sustainable use of natural resources. Frontier-Vietnam concentrated on environmental education, tourism and medicinal plant production.