Implementing the ArcGIS Protected Area Management Solution for holistic landscape monitoring in the West Lunga ecosystem, Zambia.

Published: 26 September 2022
Last edited: 26 September 2022
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Protected areas are faced with numerous ecological, social, and economic challenges both inside and outside their boundaries. Most of these challenges occur over vast spatial scales and are often magnified by a lack of resources to adequately monitor and respond to challenges. The ArcGIS Protected Area Solution (PAM) is an effective way to address these challenges holistically and at scale. PAM allows users to rapidly configure several workflows for effective area management.


M.A.P Scientific Services implemented PAM for the West Lunga Conservation Project (WLCP) in West Lunga National Park, Zambia. The Solution targeted workflows that improve monitoring of the area, these included remote sensing of deforestation and wildfires, law enforcement, wildlife sightings, and community outreach. Outcomes have allowed for improved monitoring and evidence-based management of the protected area that benefits conservation and communities whose livelihoods are intrinsically dependent on the West Lunga ecosystem and its services.


East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Freshwater ecosystems
Grassland ecosystems
River, stream
Temperate deciduous forest
Temperate grassland, savanna, shrubland
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical grassland, savanna, shrubland
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Access and benefit sharing
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Connectivity / transboundary conservation
Disaster risk reduction
Ecosystem services
Fire management
Forest Management
Land management
Outreach & communications
Poaching and environmental crime
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Species management
Sustainable livelihoods
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Species Monitoring and Research
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Physical resource extraction
Lack of food security
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Sustainable development goals
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land


Northwestern, Zambia
Show on Protected Planet


The West Lunga ecosystem is vast and remote, consisting of West Lunga National Park, surrounding game management areas, and traditional land that covers ~11 754 km squared. The long-term goal for WLCP is to make this landscape ecologically, socially and financially sustainable.


Threats to the ecosystem include the loss of fauna and flora due to human encroachment, unsustainable agricultural practices, poaching, and wildfires. To mitigate these threats, WLCP has supported the Department of National Parks and Wildlife to increase their law enforcement capacity and implements local community initiatives to provide alternative livelihoods to enhance the long-term sustainability of the area. A major challenge was to effectively monitor these interventions at scale to make informed management decisions that take advantage of their limited resources.


This required monitoring of:

  • Law enforcement.
  • Wildlife sightings.
  • Human-wildlife conflict.
  • Community outreach initiatives.
  • Deforestation and wildfires.


Beneficiaries include the West Lunga ecosystem, staff and managers of the protected area, and communities surrounding and living within the West Lunga ecosystem. 

How do the building blocks interact?

The Protected Area Management Solutions and workflows require ArcGIS Online. As an organisation working in a protected area, one can apply for ArcGIS Online through the Esri Conservation Program. ArcGIS Online provides a secure and flexible framework to holistically support workflows of data collection, visualisation, and reporting related to protected area initiatives. Pre-configured workflows can be deployed immediately, or new workflows can be designed and deployed on ArcGIS Online. To ensure effective implementation and long-term use of the solution, continues training and support are required throughout the use of the solution.


Eight paper-based workflows were digitised, and a remote sensing workflow was implemented aimed at improving data collection processes, and optimising key initiatives.


To date:

  • ~25 users have been trained to use customised mobile applications to record:
    • Details on each law enforcement patrol and any incidents that occur during the patrol e.g., poaching, snaring, logging, or signs of illegal activity.
    • Wildlife sightings.
    • Community outreach programs e.g., the location of farmers and their beehives to improve the efficiency of community outreach initiatives aimed at alternative methods of livelihood support.
  • ~180 patrols have been conducted using the solution
  • ~300 patrol incidents have been logged.
  • Two full wildlife ground counts have been conducted using the solution.
  • ~850 wildlife sightings have been recorded on 40 species.
  • The location of ~8 000 beehives have been recorded within the ecosystem.
  • The location and extent of ~15 000 fires were mapped.

On a single secure platform, park management, staff, and their partners can efficiently track data collection and assess their management initiatives in near real time, gaining evidence-based insights for where incidents are taking place, how wildlife populations are changing, whether community initiatives are successful, and what areas are vulnerable to over exploitation, illegal harvesting, and wildfires.

Contributed by

michael_41701's picture

Michael Mole M.A.P Scientific Services

Other contributors

M.A.P Scientific Services
Dorian Tilbury
West Lunga Conservation Project