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GDEST 2008 Conference Sessions
Theme 1 - Observing Africa
Monitoring of Active Fire Points Using Terra/Aqua Sensors for Cost and Time Effective Evaluation of the Impact of the CARPE Program on Habitat/Canopy Destruction
Didier Bokelo, African Wildlife Federation, DRC

Conservation and development projects often lack adequate adaptive tools to decisively evaluate project impact. CARPE strategic objectives is to decrease habitat or canopy destruction in the Congo Basin, through improved natural resources management guided by Landscape Land Use Planning (LLUP). AWF is researching the monitoring of active fires detected on a daily basis by remote sensing as a tool to evaluate the impact of the LLUP-program on habitat or canopy destruction. Habitat destruction in the Congo Basin is mainly caused by slash-and-burn agriculture, or clearing of forest with fire to establish new camp sites. We are comparing spatial/temporal trends of active fires with trends in habitat destruction to determine if active fires can accurately reflect different types of habitat destruction.
A preliminary assessment of active fire points in the Maringa Lopori Wamba landscape (USAID/CARPE) reveals a 6.5% increase between 2003 and 2006. Most fire points (69.3%) are within 2 km from roads and existing settlements. 16 % of fires are at a distance of more than 4 km from roads, indicating pressure on previously less accessible forests. Implementation of a successful LLUP should reveal increased human activity within designated agricultural zones, and reduced slash-and-burn-driven habitat destruction in more remote forests.
The successful development of cost-effective methodologies to monitor changes will allow conservation and development initiatives to implement large scale monitoring.