SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) was initiated 2010 to establish a common platform to improve law enforcement and biological management in protected areas, it is a combination of an extensive open-source modular software tool, capacity building and management standards. It is rapidly becoming a global evidence-based conservation tool and is currently implemented in over 120 protected areas.
ZSL ran a five-day training workshop training for data managers allowing more effective implementation of SMART for protected area management across Nepal’s Terai region.
Standardised monitoring, institutionalized with well-trained staff provides information on species and habitat changes over space and time as well as providing understanding of the factors responsible for that change. It enables effectiveness of management and conservation programmes to be evaluated and to make adjustments as necessary to improve conservation outputs and meet strategic objectives.
ZSL trained fifteen protected area management staff from the Department of Nepal Parks and Wildlife Conservation, the Nepalese Army and the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) in the use of the software tool for adaptive management and wildlife protection. Standard field data collection forms, protocol and data model were finalized following a one-month trial phase in Parsa Wildlife Reserve. Report templates were prepared for tactical patrol planning and status reporting for key wildlife species, habitats and disturbances such as fire. A key outcome was the setting up of SMART for Parsa WR, Shuklaphanta WR, Banke NP, Bardia NP and the system revised for Chitwan NP by the trained staff.
ZSL in partnership with the government and various conservation organizations has been working in Nepal for over twenty years establishing monitoring systems, veterinary clinics, habitat management and species conservation projects. Nepal celebrated two successful “Zero Poaching Years” in 2011 and 2013, with not a single rhino lost.
Successful training and implementation of the SMART Approach in PAs, like in Nepal, has led to SMART being discussed and presented on a global scale, including being a key topic of discussion at the IUCN World Parks Congress which took place last week in Sydney.
Current SMART Partnership members include CITES Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme, Frankfurt Zoological Society, North Carolina Zoological Park, Panthera, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Peace Parks Foundation.