Darwin local project has hit the ground running

Chris Bean

This Darwin local project has hit the ground running this quarter for investigating climate change adaptation for agriculture across the Falkland Islands. 

Identifying priority areas of focus for climate change adaptation for agriculture in the Falkland Islands is no simple task! The cascading demands and consequences (known as ‘maladaptation’) for poorly thought-out strategies can have lasting effects. Such consequences can be felt evermore in an area with a delicate and unique terrestrial island environment like the Falkland Islands. This first quarter then, has been one buried in literature, reviewing data, tools, policies and strategies from the Falkland’s shores and beyond to ensure that the foundation that we build upon for future iterations of climate change adaptations is as sturdy as it can be. That’s what climate change adaptations are all about, iteration! This entails reviewing the data we have at the time, investigating the impacts of any intervention we have enacted, and designing our policies and practices based on the most up-to-date evidence we have available. Leveraging such GIS at the landscape scale can help us understand environmental relationships on rangelands that are otherwise beyond the scale of our immediate sensory experience.

Data Package

As data is an integral part of developing adaptation strategies, one of the key packages of work that is being developed is a consolidated data package and user guide of all information pertaining to the support of climate change adaptation strategies. The pack is thematically organised, covering different topics relevant to supporting GIS climate change adaptation strategies. It includes hydrology, topography, meteorology, soil, and vegetation. Support is provided to readers of the manual with reference to the wider literature, on how and why certain data types are used.

Training Pack

Having the data is one thing, but manipulating, interpreting and generating derivative data from this is another! It is no good just to have the data without knowing what to do with it. Ensuring that users aren’t locked out of accessing data is important, as data accessibility and equity are crucial for adaptation capacity building, which will ensure the Falklands Islands are supported in the years to come. Accordingly, a training pack is in development that works to complement the data package, guiding users on some of the basics of querying the data, conducting geo-calculations, designing new maps, engaging with wider data, how to access the wealth of remote sensing imagery and then process and interpret it.

GIS Day 2023

We are all about spreading the GIS joy here at SAERI and what better way than heading off to the local school and running a workshop to celebrate GIS day! This involved a class of over 40 students, each creating their own map of a specific part of the Falkland Islands. We showed them demo maps of farms, the importance of collecting this data in the context of climate change and why ground truthing is key to good map-making. The students excelled in their tasks, digitizing and producing some great maps for a first-ever attempt, considering no one knew what GIS was before we started! A big well-done to all! 
Image left: Students at FICS creating maps and above are some of thier outputs. 

Work Experience

What better way to mark the festive first day of the month than to get stuck into GIS?! That’s what our two work experience students did this December. They both worked through a pack to help them develop their understanding of climate change, agriculture, and how this can affect the Falkland Islands. By the end of the day the had both designed and printed two fantastic maps of projected and historic climate change data in the Falkland Islands. Another big 'well done' to them both!

A big thank you to Darwin local for supporting this project, as well as the Department of Agriculture for their support and collaboration!
Image left: Chris with the two work experience students
Images right - the maps that the students produced
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