Solomon C. Carlon, Conservation International, Liberia
*-Organization name: Conservation International-Liberia
*-Organization full street address: #1 Johnson Compound, Tubman Boulevard, Oldest Congo Town, Monrovia, Liberia
*-Work phone with country and area code: +231880987581
*-Work fax with country and area code:
*-Main email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*-Scholar Email email@example.com
*-Organization Web site URL if any: www.conservation.org
Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, Conservation International (CI) is an International US-based nonprofit that empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity. CI’s strategy is to serve as a trusted advisor to decision-makers at all levels to help societies establish healthy, sustainable economies that secure nature’s ability to provide enduring human well-being.
CI is one of the only global organization that has been active in Liberia through difficult times for nearly 15 years and maintains a country office, CI-Liberia which acts as an affiliate of the global organization. We work closely with communities, private sector, government and civil society leaders to support conservation and sustainable development. With an enormous wealth of natural resources, Liberia is recovering from 14 years of civil war and the recent Ebola crisis and has an opportunity to encourage investors and promote development initiatives that both support economic growth and development while maintaining Liberia’s resources may prove to be the key to the future well-being of Liberian people. CI-Liberia works with the government, private sector, civil society and local communities to foster sustainable landscapes. We work on key areas such as coastal and marine conservation, sustainable agriculture and conservation stewardship and natural capital accounting. In doing so CI-Liberia works on land use planning, development of conservation incentives, and the promotion of better agricultural practices. GIS and remote sensing are essential to all elements of our work from planning to implementation and then also monitoring and evaluation.
*-ROLE IN THE ORGANIZATION: I have been with CI for over a year now and some of my roles have been to support and participate in the annual work planning of projects, support organization and coordination of workshops, meetings, training and other program related activities with communities and stakeholders, coordination of a variety of projects functions and/or program components. I have been involved with maintaining a wide variety of manual and electronics documents files and records (e.g. policies, budget data, employee records, etc.). I am involved with participating in the monitoring of projects implementation. Another role is to ensure smooth IT functionality by providing support to users in ensuring printers are working and the network works well, installation of software, liaise with Global IT to conduct any maintenance and troubleshooting needs and be a point of contact person for all IT user needs.
Some major projects within my Organization that I am involved with include:
1). “GEF Mangrove project that has to do with Improving Sustainability of Mangrove Forests and Coastal Mangrove Areas in Liberia through Protection, Planning and Livelihood creation- as a Building Block Towards Liberia’s Marine and Coastal Protected Areas”.
I participated and facilitated in the baseline survey; collected primary data from ten (10) communities for potential Conservation Agreements. I also collected GPS coordinates of the communities to ensure accurate location of each community and ensure that those data integrated within our database. I am also responsible for creating map outputs any selected communities as well as creating Story Maps to introduce each of the communities.
2). “ArcelorMittal -Biodiversity Conservation Programme (AML-BCP): Conservation Agreement + Environmental Education and Public Awareness”. I am involved with the monitoring of eight (8) communities with Conservation Agreements.
History of your personal work in conservation and GIS:
I grew up outside of Monrovia on a farm where I later became Acting Manager of the farm. We were consistently involved with organicfarming and with my education background in Biology and Chemistry, I would at times supervisor some of those projects. I believe this was the catalyst that gave me my fundamental attachment to nature. When I got an opportunity to work with Conservation International my interests and passions for nature grew more into conservation works. My stay at Conservation International has allowed me to acquire more knowledge and skills which have enabled me to have significant impacts on various conservation projects. Many maps have been created for our conservation projects and I have been able to collect and manage the data from the various project sites. I am looking to improve and increase my knowledge in Conservation/GIS in a way that will enable me to tackle and solve some of the complex nature degradation problems that my country Liberia still faces today.
your connection to the local SCGIS chapter: Unfortunately, there is no local SCGIS chapter here in Liberia. There is however, an unofficial local GIS User Group that is in place for knowledge sharing and training that I am part of. The group size varies from 10-30 persons depending on the date and time. The meetings are attended by mostly government technical staff along with NGO representatives who either are GIS analysts or IT and want to learn more about GIS applications. Since the
What most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do?: GIS has enabled me to create maps for our various projects and allowed me to properly establish a comprehensive database for my conservation works. Also it has enabled us to make better and informed decisions about our conservation works; like identifying sites/areas that are ideal for conservation projects and mapping out important features in these areas.
But recent civil conflict, lack of spatial data and electricity/internet service outside the capital city are few major challenges I’m facing when it comes to conservation/GIS work in my country Liberia. Also, political and economic situation in Liberia are also among the major challenges we are having with conservation work. These have made things difficult and complicated to really carried out smooth operations.
*-Abstract/summary of the paper you will present: Conservation International (CI) has been working with the Government of Liberia to help protect Liberia’s biodiversity and natural capital for future generations. CI is working with communities around the East Nimba Nature Reserve (ENNR) located in Nimba County which borders Guinea and the Ivory Coast. The East Nimba Nature Reserve covers approximately 13,500 hectares of highly biodiverse land. Considerable threats to biodiversity in this region include ongoing extraction of iron ore at a commercial scale and the extraction of reserves of natural resources for both subsistence and commercial use. These natural resources include the hunting of bushmeat and non-timber forest products (NTFP) such as resins, medicinal plants, fruits, nuts, etc. CI is in the process of providing livelihood projects to communities around the ENNR to help protect the reserve.
Currently, there is no form of land use planning in the Northern Nimba Landscape and CI is considering developing a spatial land-use plan across the entire Landscape using GIS data and analysis.