A large number of automatic weather stations has been implemented in the frame of the BIOTA AFRICA project by the Namibian National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) and the Group "Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology" (BEE) of the University of Hamburg. The website offers hourly updates of data and graphs of a large number of weather parameters.
BIOTA produced three films to communicate its research activities to different audiences between 2007 and 2009.
The first film Wiza Wetu! – OurForest! depicts the illegal logging of trees in the Kavango Region of Northern Namibia. It aims to raise awareness about the problem and introduce alternative modes of income to local communities.
The second film Biodiversity is our Life documents landuser perspectives on biodiversity issues such as the use of natural resources, biodiversity perceptions and biodiversity change, as well as sustainable resource management. It was screened to researchers and policy-makers during the Convention on Biological Diversity COP 9 conference in Bonn in May 2008.
The film Bridging the Gap was made by BIOTA paraecologists as part of a training workshop and presents the paraecologist programme from the paraecologists’ perspective.
All films were made with different degrees of collaboration and participation. The films therefore not only contributed to the communication of research results to various audiences and to raising awareness about existing ecological and social problems. They also constituted an important aspect of capacity development and stakeholder involvement in the project.
Wiza Wetu! – Our Forest!
In the film, Robert Mukuya, the region’s BIOTA paraecologist, visits different places, which are significant for the production and trade of illegally harvested wood and talks to relevant people.
As a local expert on biodiversity he investigates the different aspects of the problem, explains them to the audience and guides through the film. The forests in the Kavango are mostly communal land, which implies that its resources belong to the public. Nevertheless, only a few individuals usually benefit from the illegal activities by generating a private income, while the majority of the population loses out – through decline of natural resources and ecological destruction. The aim of our film was to initiate a critical discussion amongst the landuser communities that would ideally contribute to more sustainable management of the forest and a fairer distribution of the forest-related income.
A film by & with:
Michael Pröpper & Martin Gruber. Narrated by BIOTA Para-Ecologist Robert Silarius Mukuya.
Biodiversity is our Life
The film Biodiversity is our Life was produced to inform an audience of researchers and policy-makers about landuser perspectives on biodiversity during the Convention on Biological Diversity COP 9 conference in Bonn in May 2008. The 10-minute film was screened as a loop at the stand of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as well as during the BIOTA-Side Event at COP 9.
Biodiversity is our Life introduces the BIOTA AFRICA research project by dealing with issues such as the use of natural resources, biodiversity perceptions and biodiversity change, as well as different strategies of sustainable resource management.
The idea behind the film was to convey authentic local perspectives by editing amateur footage shot by researchers as well as paraecologists and other non-academic African project members.
A film by & with:
Martin Gruber, Djafarou Abdoulaye, Jacinta L. Achieng, Reginald A. Christiaan, Memory Dausas, Karen Hahn-Hadjali, Zan Idrissa, Dorkas Kaiser, Dorothea Kampmann, Julia Krohmer, Jared Sajita, Gnanando Saidou, Adjima Thiombiano, Annika Wieckhorst. Narrated by Tim Sebbage.
Bridging the Gap – paraecologists in action
The 20-minute film Bridging the Gap is the outcome of a paraecologist training workshop held in South Africa during April 2009. The documentary introduces the paraecologist programme to a broad audience and presents the paraecologists’ expertise to other research projects, and conservation and development agencies. The film was conceived and shot entirely by the paraecologists. The idea behind this approach was not only to teach local project members practical filmmaking skills that they could use for the project, and that would qualify them for future employment. More importantly, the participatory process of conceiving and making the film also afforded the participants the opportunity to (re)define their role within the project and within broader contexts. The filmmaking was thus meant to strengthen the ties between BIOTA and the paraecologists, to open up new perspectives on the project, increase their work-related motivation and strengthen their self-awareness.
The film is a self-representation of the paraecologists and an introduction to the paraecologist programme of BIOTA. The film’s greatest potential lies in the area of capacity development, empowerment and stakeholder inclusion.
A film by & with:
Reginald Christian, Martin Gruber, Richard Isaacks, Donna Kotze, Marianna Johanna Lot, Vilho Snake Mtuleni, Robert S. Mukuya, Wynand Pieters, Ute Schmiedel, Jeanneta Swartbooi, Sebdeus Swartbooi.