2023 SAG Award Winners

African Wildlife Foundation

Project Goal

The African Wildlife Foundation is devoted to building a future for Africa where people and wildlife thrive. Recent technological advances offer unprecedented means to access, collect, analyze, and disseminate data and derivative information presenting tremendous opportunities to conservation. Our goal is to enable AWF staff and protected area/community partners to harness the spatial data explosion towards better, smarter faster decision-making through the design of accessible online user interfaces. So far we created several products including:
TRACTS Scale – a multi-pane dashboard enabling non-technical users to review salient spatial datasets, related metrics, and perform simple analyses on natural areas, biodiversity, threats, climate change, and water resources for AWF priority landscapes and countries.

TRACTS Sites builds on Esri’s Conservation Solutions to enhance protected area manager situational awareness for more agile, effective adaptive management decision-making.
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Business Problem Solved

Designed to support AWF's country and landscape strategy planning process, TRACT-Scale helped us address questions such as:

• Where are potential habitats or the most important places to work considering multiple variables such as threatened species richness, restoration potential, and forest integrity?

• How extensive is natural area degradation and what are the roles of fire and deforestation?

TRACTS Sites has been successfully deployed in Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains National Park where fire and illegal livestock grazing are top threats. The system supports their fire management program with tracking of active fire points, historic fire trends, wildlife, field documentation of illegal activity and management efforts.

Technology Implemented

• ArcGIS Online/Dashboards to create TRACTS-Scale and -Sites
• ArcGIS Pro to manage/publish data
• Survey123 to characterize wildlife observations and management efforts.

Development Team Biography

David Williams is an ecologist who leads AWF’s Conservation Geography shop to support conservation planning, management, and monitoring under the aegis of AWF’s landscape conservation approach. David applies a range of spatial tools to assess wildlife populations, human livelihoods and land use impacts and is passionate about empowering African conservation and sustainable development players via spatial tools applications.

Andrea Athanas is an economist whose work emphasizes creating pathways for societies to transition to sustainable growth using business as a driver. Her passion for innovations around impact investing, social enterprise, and landscape conservation helped drive this project. She is a strong supporter of the development of tools for integration of biodiversity into impact assessments and biodiversity due diligence procedures.

Many thanks to Esri’s David Smetana, Luci Coleman, Mackenzi Obrien, and Adam Jenkins for their contributions.