National Biodiversity Action Day at Okongo 2011             "FORESTS FOR PEOPLE"

Celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity 2011 in Namibia
FORESTS FOR PEOPLE

 

The United Nations proclaimed 22 May as the International Day for Biological Diversity to promote a greater under-standing and awareness of biodiversity issues. The theme of the 2011 is forest biodiversity.

Forests are more biologically diverse than any other land-based ecosystems. How this diversity looks like and what it provides for humankind, people all over the world try to find out during this day.

 

Due to the success of last year's Biodiversity Day it was decided to carry out a similar awareness raising activity in 2011 in celebration of the International Year of Forests. Okongo in the northern part of Namibia, was chosen to host this important event. As an example to the entire country, the Okongo Community Forest and Conservancy manage and use of natural resources, in a sustainable manner on a daily basis.

 

“Forest Biodiversity -  Earth's living treasure”
Forests contain some of our planet's most vibrant ecosystems, displaying a wondrous variety of birds, animals, and plants. Forests are the basis for more than 5,000 products, from aromatic oil distilled from leaves to herbal medicines, fuel, food, furniture and clothing; they prevent soil erosion and help to regulate the climate; they provide clean water; they inspire us in art, research and religion; and they are essential to the survival and well-being of people everywhere—all 7 billion of us. Jan L. McAlpine Director, United Nations Forum on Forests; Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity
 


National Action Days
As the name implies, a National Action Day on Biodiversity spurs people to action. A broad range of stakeholders come together at a predetermined site, to analyse the features of a specific ecosystem. Participants are given simple tasks, such as collecting samples of all species they can find on that site. Scientists accompany mixed groups of participants to help them assess the characteristics of species, relationships between them and the ecosystem as a whole, including humans. All results are then gathered and analysed jointly and with the help of experts. This exercise provides ample opportunity for new and often surprising insights, and gathering of information about the importance of selected ecosystems in our lives.


Namibia’s National Biodiversity Action Days 2011 will happen from 13th to 15th of May.
Main venue will be the Omaumi Community Campsite, in the Okongo Community Forestry &  Okongo Conservancy, 60km west of Okongo (Ohnagwena Region).

  Okongo Conservancy Profile

 


Omauni village: larger map view

The first “biomonitoring” activities for night-active animals will start later in the evening. On Saturday 14 May most of  the main activities taking place. Guided and instructed by competent Namibian and international scientists, participants from various fields (as indicated above) will gain hands-on experiences on a wide range of topics related to biodiversity and ecosystem services in six different groups:

 

Biodiversity Action Groups                                                     

 FORESTS:
The provider of life
 

.…discover plants diversity and richness. What are the benefits of forests? Different ways to use important natural resources of food, medicines, energy and building materials.
 

INVERTEBRATES:
Hidden treasures of the forest

 

…actively learning about the invertebrate ecology in forested areas and methods of biomonitoring. Pollination, predatory and pesticides ecology and soil fertility.
 

MAMMALS:
Brothers from other mothers
 

…actively learning about various methods of monitoring mammals (small mammals trapping, spoor count and visual observation). Discussion on past game distribution in the region for possible re-introduction programs in the future.

AVIFAUNA:
Our feathered friends

 

.....actively watching birds and listening to calls in the various habitats. Birds as indicators and their ecological roles in forests and cultivated lands
 

Additionally,

  • Forest provide a wide range of economic and social benefits:
    .......several exhibition stalls at the village Omauni showcasing various local products, processes and community development projects involved in sustainable use of forest resources (e.g. woodwork, beekeeping, nursery, Guinea fowl breeding, etc.)
     

  • Consensus on the importance of forest ecosystems:
    .......discussions about importance of our forests to adapt continuously to changing conditions and to maintain their potential for meeting human needs (e.g.global benefits of forests like prodution of oxygen and absorbation of carbon dioxide are necessary for our survival).

This year’s National Biodiversity Action Day is a national event, to bring people from all walks of life together to analyze the features of this specific ecosystem. Various line Ministries (MET & MAWF), NGOs, community, media, school learners and scientist, are all stakeholders of our forests and beneficiaries. It is also heavily dependent on voluntary contributions and efforts.
 

The public is invited to participate in the Biodiversity Action Day.
Please note that space on the campsite is limited, so guests are asked to register their attendance at
b-day@eduventures-africa.org
 and to bring their own camping equipment.


A joint project of
 


In cooperation with
 



 

                         


Implemented in Namibia by
 

 

 

 


In partnership with

     
           


The event is kindly further being sponsored by:
 

Maori B&B
Grootfontein


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