By Kory Korir,
Africa, is particularly dependent on natural resources as a social, political and economic pillar. Water resources, forests, wildlife among others form a platform where the country generates its income and also provides employment opportunities to millions of people in different sectors of the economy. According to United Nation’s sustainable development goals, better management of natural resources will help in execution of most of its development goals like ending poverty and reducing inequalities within communities and individuals, making water resources available, combat climate change and making sure that our ecosystems are preserved to maintain the aesthetic nature of our environment and at the same time promote peaceful coexistence of the inhabitants in the ecosystem.
Image courtesy of Google.
Forests serve as water towers which provide water used for irrigation, industrial use and domestic consumption. The same contributes to the appealing aesthetics of a certain vicinity and mostly act as a habitat for a variety of animals. This subsequently translates to improvement of the economic status of the country, more food security, wildlife that boosts tourism hence improved Gross Domestic product of the country.
The aforementioned can only be realized if the natural resources are sustainably managed. This means that the different stakeholders should put their efforts together and come with policies, laws and methods that can mitigate the said issues effectively to curb the menace that is devouring our natural resources. Depletion and degradation of natural resources is attributable to ignorance and lack of information. While people are busy trying to solve short term problems like cutting down trees for charcoal burning, they are oblivious of the fact that they are creating long term problems as they contribute to desertification which carries with it myriad implications like food insecurity among others.
There are many ways that natural resources could be preserved but a prerequisite of the same is access to accurate information. This encompasses spatial and non-spatial information. Every aspect in the environment has a spatial component which should be the nadir of collecting information. Spatial data when visualized with the correct infrastructure bears a very rich visualization avenue. This visualizations are always accompanied with attributes in form of non-spatial data which is used to complement the visualization. With such, cutting edge decision support system can be created as a leverage for informed decision making.
“Then how can this be done?” many people would ask this question but the answer is in use of Geospatial Technology. Geospatial technology in Remote Sensing and GIS can be used to monitor utilization of these natural resources, and if need be, use the intelligence generated from the same technology to raise red flags. By gathering information on soil types, vegetation, water resources, forest cover among others, a decision support system can be put in place to control desertification, deforestation, erosion and destruction of vegetation cover.
The above introduces us to an abundance of data. When analyzed appropriately, one can as well get abundance of information that will be used to better manage the natural resources.