SMART Training

by Selina Treffner

GIZ Project BIOME (Biodiversity Monitoring Ethiopia)

“Nature conservation in the 21st century must also harness 21st century technologies. They open up great opportunities especially in the management of large protected areas,” says ecologist Hanns Kirchmeir. Together with experts from Austria and Ethiopia, Hanns is setting up the BIOME system (Biodiversity Monitoring Ethiopia). In the project run by the German Society for International Cooperation [Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)], technologies are tested and the people responsible locally are trained to used them.

Hanns says, “Most of the technologies are not expensive.” Tools such as SMART CyberTracker or images from the European satellite program Sentinel are even available for free. However, the data and systems need to be adapted to requirements and “nothing works without relevant training.” Interest in the parks is huge. At present, a system for monitoring large wild animals, vegetation and land use is being set up in Ethiopia’s Nechisar National Park. The corresponding training was a success, “Local colleagues are very interested and can see many other possible applications,” says Susanne Glatz-Jorde, project manager of BIOME.

Note: The European Parks Academy in Klagenfurt is offering a seminar on the subject of “Ecological Monitoring & Innovative Technologies” in its program this year. International experts present up-to-date nature conservation technologies and show practical examples of how they can be used effectively. The topics range from remote sensing, drone mapping and forest point clouds to the use of barcoding and environmental DNA. Further information is available on the website:

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