NATURE, USE IT OR LOSE IT

From it's creation, the members of WICE believed that the best way to conserve nature would be through the sustainable use of nature and natural resources. More than 2 decades ago, when many conservationists talked about "ecotourism", WICE started experimenting with the concepts by participating in the 

  1. Cuyabeno lodge in Ecuador and in the 

  2. Oceanwide/Plancius polar cruises.

While natural resources management in general remains a very important issue, WICE particularly works at the management of protected areas. For almost two decades it has worked at solving the problems of how to establish maximum representativeness of biodiversity in protected areas systems and how to carry out gap analyses through efficient  proxy methods. It has solved this problem in 2003 and gave a major presentation at the Vth World Parks Congress in Durban. The methodology and software can be downloaded from: http://www.nature-worldwide.org/cam/honduras/hn_parks_study1.htm 

It also spent more than a decade at developing and testing and improving a practical method for protected area and ecosystem monitoring. which can be downloaded from http://www.monitoring-nature.info The website has a very advanced but yet userfriendly database with manuals and field forms in both English and Spanish.

With so little financial resources available to protected areas managers, WICE has spent lots of time and finances in searching for inexpensive alternatives and programmes, for which it provides training. Take a look at http://www.ilwis.org and http://www.nature-worldwide.info/site/computer-wisdom.htm 

It has also developed this webnet to bring protected areas and people together through information.

WICE started in 1986 with the financing in the experimental ecotourism lodge with biological station in cooperation with the Ecuadorian National Parks Service.  Similar activities, as well as regular technical assistance projects have contributed to a broad experience in the field of natural resources management, including:

*          high resolution natural resources and biodiversity

mapping

*          watershed management

*          aquatic ecosystems

*          coastal marine management

*          deep water reconnaissance

*          sustainable forestry and Carbon sequestration

*          biodiversity conservation

*          eco-tourism

*          institutional development

*          the creation of trust funds

*          incorporation of micro-enterprises

*          raising of “green” venture capital, etc.  

AFTER PROJECT SUSTAINABILITY

While addressing environmental and natural resource management issues, many consultants tend to mostly focus on technical and social issues. WICE, however, has observed too many projects, which promoted changes that could not possibly continue  beyond the project life cycle. Addressing the issue of sustainability in the course of the projects to which it contributes, is always a preeminent WICE concern, to which end a broad range of issues needs to be addressed, ranging from prioritization, institutional organization, financing, as well as technically viable applications in the field.  In Central America, WB/UNDP: WICE has been a leading organization in the preparation of the biodiversity loans and GEF biodiversity grants in most of the Central American countries, thus giving form to the creation of a Meso-American biological corridor.  In each of the countries involved, bufferzone management programs needed to be developed, with the involvement of local communities, stakeholders, farmers, indigenous people, and NGOs.  Promising productive activities, such as small scale fishing, animal husbandry, BD-friendly agriculture, communal gold mining, tourism, etc. formed the economic basis for continued sustainability passed project life.

Prioritization of protected areas has been initiated and recurrent costs of the countries’ protected areas systems have been assessed with an in-house developed software named MICOSYS.  Self-financing mechanisms for the administrations of the protected areas systems are being put in place, so that improved management can continue after project financing. A process of systematic Ecosystems mapping for all the countries of the region has been initiated in cooperation with the World Conservation Monitoring Center.

ADOPT A RANGER

Deeply concerned with the abandonment of more that half of the protected areas in developing and transition countries, WICE has initiated the "Adopt A Ranger" programme which you can see at http://www.adopt-a-ranger.org.  

These are just a few highlights of what WICE has been working at over the past 2 decades of its existence. For any additional information, please contact us from our contact data at the bottom of this page.