Tandag City, Surigao del Sur (28 November 2016). Some 86 forest rangers of PENRO Surigao del Sur are trained and mobilized for the implementation of Landscape and Wildlife Indicator (LAWIN) Forest and Biodiversity Protection System in the province.
The LAWIN system is a forest and biodiversity protection system that integrates forest, biodiversity and threats monitoring, implementation of interventions to address threats and monitoring of the response of the forest ecosystem to these management intervention.
Said system uses five key innovations in forest protection. First, LAWIN uses a science-based purpose-driven process for identifying conservation areas and hotspots and formulating measurable conservation objectives for these. Second, LAWIN replaces manual recording and encoding of patrol data with a mobile application. Forest patrollers can use tablets or smart phones and directly record geo-referenced observations on habitat, wildlife, trees, threats and illegal activities. CyberTracker, a free open-source software, is used to create the interface for the mobile application.
After a patrol is completed, observations are uploaded to a computer using the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) software for data analysis and mapping. This fast processing of data leads to LAWIN’s third key innovation: enhanced coordination between biodiversity and threats monitoring with environmental law enforcement. Fourth, LAWIN enables decision-makers to monitor patrol efforts such as manpower exerted, distance covered, and number of hours spent patrolling. Fifth, LAWIN allows for the visualization of the spatial distribution of observation records and patrol efforts and trends that show the effectiveness of the interventions implemented to address the observed threats. Well-informed, community leaders, resource managers, and environmental law enforcers can evaluate and continuously improve their forest conservation strategies.
Each trained forest patrollers or forest rangers are equipped with knowledge and skills and provided some gadgets used in the conduct of LAWIN activities especially the android phone with CyberTracker application, cap, and watch.
LAWIN is officially implemented at the identified program sites and other forest degradation hotspots in the Philippines by DENR through the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) and Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) in support and partnership with the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) Biodiversity and Watershed Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) program. (JSN / PENRO-SDS).