Using Ecological Integrity Assessment and Advanced Information Management to Guide Wetlands Management and Decision-Making in Rwanda

The Rwanda’s wetland ecological integrity assessment project will establish a baseline on the status of Rwanda's wetlands biodiversity and ecosystem services and engage stakeholders in the implementation of a long-term wetland monitoring programme to support informed decision-making.

Project Duration: January 2019-December 2020

Country: Rwanda

Donor: JRS Biodiversity Foundation

Project Budget: $250,000

The Rwanda’s wetland ecological integrity assessment project uses methodologies developed by ARCOS, IUCN and others to conduct biological surveys, ecosystem services valuation, and GIS mapping of Rwanda’s wetlands.

Building on ARCOS Biodiversity Information Management System (ARBIMS), the data generated through these assessments will be published using international standards and the ARBIMS portal itself will be upgraded to make it more useful as a modern biodiversity data sharing platform.

The outcome of the project will be better informed decisions regarding wetlands management in Rwanda.

The following are the 4 components of the project:

Component 1: Biodiversity Assessments

A baseline on the status of wetland’s biodiversity will be established as a result of a rapid assessment of all wetlands across the country and an exhaustive biodiversity assessment of 4 key selected wetlands. Taxa that will be focused on include Birds, Amphibians, Fish, Plants, and Algae.

Component 2: Wetlands Ecosystem Services Mapping and Valuation

Using the IUCN’s Integrated Wetland Assessment Toolkit, the value of ecosystem services for 2 selected wetlands will be estimated to inform key decisions on their utilization. In addition, maps depicting distribution of key ecosystem services and some threats affecting wetlands will be produced using’ GIS and Remote Sensing (Building on methodologies developed and piloted by the DeMo Wetlands Project - University of Bonn & Remote Sensing Solutions GmbH)

Component 3: Biodiversity Information Management System

The ARCOS’ Biodiversity Information Management System (ARBIMS) is a regional platform that facilitates access to biodiversity data and information using international data standards and open source tools.

ARBIMS will be upgraded for improved web-mapping, better data visualization, and more simplified data publishing workflows.

Component 4: Capacity Building

An eLearning platform will be put in place and online training modules will be developed on biodiversity data collection and wetlands ecosystem services mapping. The development of these modules will leverage the existing online training initiatives in this field such as the Biodiversity Informatics Curriculum Project.