The mapathon focused on this area because it covers land important to maintain connectivity between two large forest habitats, the Budongo and Bugoma Central Forest Reserves. This land has been heavily affected by logging, agriculture, mining and development. Restoring and keeping this land forested is important because it provides local communities with access to water and other forest resources while also supporting chimpanzee communities and their connectivity to larger chimpanzee populations in the two reserves.
“JGI will share and use the updated maps with the local private forest owners, community forest monitors, government partners and other nongovernmental organizations to better understand the human footprint and to inform and measure the success of ongoing tree planting, forest restoration and protection efforts in the region” said Lilian Pintea, JGI’s Vice President for Conservation Science. To protect chimpanzees, conservation practitioners must first know their habitat locations. A current map is essential to supporting this endangered species. The chimpanzee range spans 21 countries from East to Central and West Africa. Having once had a population of 1 million-2 million just a century ago, chimpanzees are already extinct in three countries, and it is estimated that their population numbers are 172,700 to 299,700 in the wild.
Mapping Layer in Open Street Map
Maxar’s high-resolution satellite imagery is available as a foundational mapping layer in OpenStreetMap (OSM). Maxar’s team members in California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Texas and Virginia, as well as in England, used OSM to map 947 km of roads and over 120 sq km of forested areas over four days. They also used Maxar’s BASEVUE LULC, a moderate-resolution land use/land cover dataset, and Persistent Change Monitoring (PCM), an imagery-derived data layer highlighting locations of persistent change, as guides to more efficiently direct their work during the mapathon, using the MAPROULETTE application. Combining these two datasets gave mappers the locations of where change had occurred, eliminating the need to manually scan imagery. These edits will be available to anyone via OSM.
Life on Land: a Sustainable Development Goal
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outline 17 objectives to make the world a more equitable, peaceful and prosperous place for all living beings on the planet. SDG 15, ‘life on land’, highlights different ways to help preserve natural habitats, increase biodiversity and ensure a sustainable future for animals, like chimpanzees. The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) focuses on community-led approaches, known as “Tacare,” which empower local communities to connect conservation objectives with ecosystem services important for their livelihoods and drive nature-based development and conservation decision-making. To achieve the goals outlined in SDG 15, it is crucial to have an accurate map of forested areas that need to be preserved, which can be used by local communities and governments in their land-use planning to protect and restore watersheds and other ecosystem services supporting people, animals and the environment. This was one of the objectives of the Maxar-JGI mapathon earlier this summer.