Mark Higgins is a principle development specialist with the BRIDGE project, designed by the USAID Office of Forestry and Biodiversity to promote biodiversity integration throughout the USAID portfolio. He manages a suite of tools to support USAID’s Washington office and field staff in their design and implementation of integrated biodiversity programming. Mark has also worked for USAID’s LAC Bureau Environment Team and Geocenter, as well as USAID’s Measuring Impact project. Prior to his work with USAID, Mark was a doctoral and postdoctoral fellow at Duke University and the Carnegie Institution of Science, Stanford, mapping biodiversity and biomass in Central and South America from a combination of satellite, aerial and field data.
Better Biodiversity Integration Through Geospatial Analysis
April 23, 2020
Biodiversity conservation is essential to development––across multiple sectors, geographies, and contexts. Geospatial analysis can support integration of biodiversity conservation with a range of sectors at USAID, including climate change, and a new guide, developed by USAID’s Office of Forestry and Biodiversity and the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, explains how.
See the Whole Picture
Geospatial analysis is the gathering, display, and analysis of data with a spatial component. These data can range from satellite imagery to global datasets on forest cover to geographically referenced census information. Already used as a powerful tool for program design, geospatial analysis can bring sectors together by visualizing and analyzing the overlaps between sectors.
Integrating climate change and biodiversity programming could include identifying overlapping priorities for biodiversity conservation and emissions mitigation. For example, discovering sites at which coral reef or mangrove conservation might improve climate adaptation by reducing storm damage or monitoring the benefits that biodiversity conservation activities and climate change objectives provide for each other.
Timely, Actionable Guidance
The geospatial analysis guide is intended both to support the work of geospatial specialists, and to help technical staff across sectors make the case for using geospatial analysis during integrated program design to technical offices, program offices, and front offices.
The guide includes four chapters corresponding to the four stages of the Program Cycle. For each stage, the guide highlights the why, when, and how of using geospatial analysis, including the rationale for the use of geospatial data and analysis, enabling conditions, best practices, and an example from USAID programming.
Though the guide was written with biodiversity programming in mind, it has many lessons that might be broadly useful to USAID staff as they design integrated programming.
For more information:
- Visit the Biodiversity Results and Integrated Development Gains Enhanced (BRIDGE) Project page for more integration resources.
- Learn more about biodiversity integration with other sectors:
Contact Mark Higgins at USAID BRIDGE with any questions.