Speaker Bio & Abstract

Zach Ferdana Geospatial Information Officer
The Nature Conservancy

BiographyZach Ferdana is The Nature Conservancy’s first Geospatial Information Officer (GIO). Leading the organization’s effort in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), his initial objectives are to: (1) manage geospatial data for U.S. preserves and global conservation priority areas, (2) transfer critical data to the cloud for tracking and measuring conservation success, (3) build partners in geospatial innovation, and (4) provide leadership to the Conservancy’s GIS community. Prior to becoming GIO in 2019, Zach was a Senior Program Manager in the Global Oceans unit of The Nature Conservancy. He led an international program called Coastal Resilience focused on ecosystem-based management, climate adaptation and resilience using nature-based solutions and geospatial technology (https://maps.coastalresilience.org). He has been with the organization for 18 years.AbstractThe Nature Conservancy (TNC) has over 60 years of experience in conservation and restoration of coastal ecosystems. Since 2007, TNC has led the development of Coastal Resilience, an approach and online decision support system to help mitigate and address the devastating effects of coastal climate change and natural disasters. Coastal Resilience projects exist on island and low-lying communities in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Australia, Southeast Asia, and in most of the United States coastal states. Having reached over 100 communities, Coastal Resilience is intended to assess the risks of coastal hazards and implement climate adaptation strategies using nature-based solutions. In 2017 TNC and the Red Cross formed a highly innovative collaboration in geospatial technology and AI around climate adaptation planning. In an initial project in Indonesia to increase social-ecological community resilience, the collaboration built a set of geospatial data and tools for promoting mangrove restoration to reduce flood risk. Illustrating TNC’s conservation planning approach enhanced through AI by mapping flood events using big data and constructing 3D mangrove restoration scenarios, this pilot project assessed community vulnerability and natural resource management in identifying possible adaptation solutions in Central Java. This project will be used to illustrate how TNC and the Red Cross are specifically addressing SDGs #9 (resilient infrastructure) and #13 (combat climate change).