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Saving Cambodia's Ecosystem — One Click at a Time

by Christin VanZant last modified Oct 12, 2016 08:47 PM
Contributors: Winrock International
A complicated digital tool is about to be unveiled. It was planned and tested for months, was carefully conceived and designed with detailed stakeholder feedback and consultation. It could make a real difference in the health of Cambodia’s fragile ecosystems. The internet performed, and the tool wowed the crowd. Every day for a week of rigorous meetings and training sessions, the instrument was put through its paces. And everyone from Cambodian government ministers to students to representatives of NGOs learned to use it — passing their final exams with scores of 80 percent or higher.

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The WESTool uses advanced science and intuitive maps and tools to analyze changes in water availability, sediment and nutrient loss, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, explains Lara Murray, a carbon analyst with Winrock’s ecosystem services team. It was developed as part of USAID’s Supporting Forests and Biodiversity project (SFB), implemented by Winrock and led by Curtis Hundley, SFB’s chief of party, an early and ardent supporter of the tool. Ecosystem Services Director Sarah Walker and Ken Andrasko, senior director of Winrock’s environment group, were WESTool’s visionaries.



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