Amazonia Landscape Mapping and Biodiversity Estimation Using Remote Sensing and Local Communities Knowledge and Know-How (website)
The Xixuau-Xiparina Nature Reserve and Lower Rio Jauperi basin, State of Roraima, Brazil is an unexplored, pristine rainforest that harbors rich wildlife including several threatened mammal species. Placed between hydrographic basins of different geological ages, it is of great biological relevance. Only 570 people in 5 communities inhabit the area. The Associação Amazônia, largely composed of people belonging to the local communities, has been working in the region since 1991.
This project aims to set-up and test a methodology for landscape mapping of Amazonia to assess the biological diversity by applying the knowledge and know-how of the local communities and involving them in remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. The Convention on Biological Diversity requires the application of the knowledge of local communities. The Subsidiary Bodies for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) said that traditional and indigenous people have the knowledge and perspectives that should be included in current taxonomic systems. Scientific taxonomy covers more species than indigenous taxonomy, yet it covers only 10% of existing species. According to the ecosystem approach biodiversity assessment also requires identification and assessment of ecosystem and habitats. Remote sensing of the Amazon and applying the knowledge and know-how of the local communities will provide baseline data sets of pristine biotopes against which trouble spots can be monitored.
Data collection methodology for biodiversity assessment include the following:
In addition to testing new methodologies for biodiversity assessment, this project aims to contribute to:
The project is an exercise in sustainable development: it aims to create new jobs, raise the living conditions of the local communities and encourage them to remain in the forest.
-- Luigi Fabbro
Aquatic Fauna of the Paraná River System - A Baseline for Ecosystem Understanding and Sustainable Use
The Paraná River, the second largest river in South America, is characterized by highly heterogeneous environmental conditions that have made it a long-term center for the development of biological diversity. The protection and sustained use of such systems require understanding the framework set by critical abiotic parameters, and the resulting ecological roles, needs and tolerances of the inhabitant biota. The latter aspects, however, cannot be evaluated without solid knowledge of the fauna at the level of the species.
In addition, a multinational waterway (Hidrovia), is threatening to significantly alter floodplain inundation patterns by increasing river discharge. Scientific research in these areas should be quickly intensified to avoid permanent damage to critical ecosystem functions and the irreversible loss of information necessary for sound restoration measure and the development of sustained utilization practices.
Approach and methodology
The present project would for the first time allow the necessary comprehensive, multi-scale evaluation through simultaneous collections across a wide range of system components and levels, including some not previously studied sub-regions and aspects.
Benefits of the project:
This project is developing a CD-ROM to tell the national history of the Avila National Park in the valley of Caracas, Venezuela. It will emphasize the geological relations of the Coastal Range with other continents and the Andes. It will feature a remarkable extent of plant species that still remain there as living proof to the prehistory of the coastal range. The presence of these species is attributed to the dramatic climate change and the last great glaciation that occurred 15-20,000 years ago.
The Avila National Park, created in 1958, covers almost 85,000 ha. The park is located in the north central section of the Coastal Range that separates the valley of Caracas from the Caribbean Sea. The region includes vegetation zones of savannas (1000-1500 m) mainly created by fire throughout the centuries, tropical and rain forests (1500-2100 m), and Sub-paramo (2100-2765 m).
The multimedia CD-ROM, tentatively scheduled for completion Fall 2002, will include about 1,800 to 2,000 photos, 5 videos, 20 panoramic views and a tri-dimensional simulation video of the splitting of Pangea, with emphasis on the formation and evolution of the Coastal Range, born about 65,000,000 years ago.
The CD-ROM interactive project shall be divided in chapters, as follows:
Purposes of the project:
Click here for images from the upcoming CD-ROM - *caution - graphic intensive*
BIOPAT: Biodiversity of freshwater fishes in Patagonia
Floristic Diversity of Bolivia From Collection to Cognition and Conservation (website)
The Floristic Diversity project, conducted by Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza Noel Kempff (FAN), is exploring the botanic diversity of species rich areas of Bolivia. It synergistically combines research in botany and conservation to increase science-based conservation of Bolivia’s flora.
FAN is discovering many new species. For example in 2001, 13 species of orchids were discovered and described. About 20 previously unknown species are waiting to be described (Orchidaceae, Bromeliaceara, Araceae).
The project has developed a computer program that is a valuable tool for conservation planning. The model (BIOM) allows models of species ranges and species richness patterns. It has been applied to the Bolivian Araceas (see map) and will soon be used for other groups. The model is in publication.
The principal objective is to implement a holistic project that completes the cycle from basic research, to publications of findings, to the application of the findings for conservation. The second goal is to demonstrate how a private non-profit and non-academic institution can contribute to biodiversity inventory conservation in developing countries where institutional gaps are large. New species found in Bolivia in families like orchids and bromeliads are among the highest discovery rates worldwide. Still there are large areas that have been unexplored by botanists. It is estimated that at the end of this project 18,000-20,000 plant species will have been described for these regions.
The botanical survey concentrates on two flagship plant groups:
Project components include:
Additional funding is required especially for the ex-situ conservation activities and publications. Interested parties should contact Dr. Pierre Ibisch.
The Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza Noel Kempff (FAN) is one of the most important conservation non-governmental organizations in Bolivia. FANs science department provides scientific backstopping for the general biodiversity conservation activities and, among others, develops methods for diversity and conservation assessments.
This interactive CD-ROM features pictures, movies, and texts to describe and illustrate scenic views, animals, and plant species peculiar to the Guyana area. The Guyana area includes the Canaima National Park (3,000,000 ha) and is part of the Guayana shield, one of the most ancient lands in the world.
The CD aims to:
The CD is divided into the following chapters:
The release date of the CD-ROM is August-September 2002.
Central America has one of the highest deforestation rates in the tropics resulting in degradation of the natural environment. Honduras, the second poorest country in Latin American, has seen a large portion of their forests transformed into monocultures of exported goods to the developed nations. Local environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs) are campaigning within Honduras for protected areas that contain tracts of forests within a multitude of ecological zones. One such area is on the north coast in the province of Atlantida, Cuero y Salado. This mangrove wildlife refuge, positioned on what was once Standard Fruit land (a subsidiary of Dole), is a 15 kilometer square region, that is wet forest and mangrove canals which contain unstudied populations of flora and fauna including: manatees, birds, monkeys, and other life forms.
The mantled howler monkey, Alouatta palliata (picture), is commonly found in many of the currently existing forests on the north coast of Honduras. The species is known to exist from sea-level forests to high mountain ranges, in large pristine tracts and in fragments of forests. There has been little research on how howler monkeys survive in wet lowland and mangrove forests, limiting conservation efforts. Howlers are known to play an important ecological role, as they are one of the largest-bodied arboreal mammals in the Neotropics. In addition, they are important as seed disperses; spreading the resources needed for regeneration in degraded forests.
What will happen during IBOY
Anthropologist and Environmental Researcher Kymberley Anne Snarr is examining the feeding ecology of the mantled Howlers; using data collected in three ways:
The project will bring about a better understanding of the forest composition in the refuge, the wildlife and the peoples' attitude to the nature that surrounds them. Importantly, an in-depth understanding of the resources the Howler Monkeys use will aid future conservation projects including The Foundation for Cuero y Salado - FUCSA.
Currently, project findings are shared with University students of CURLA - Centro Universitario Regional del Litoral Atlántico from the local campus of UNAH - Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras, individual discussions following semi-formal interviews with the residents of Cuero y Salado, and local biologists working for the Ministry of Forestry and Protected Areas both in La Ceiba, Honduras and nationally in Tegucigalpa, Honduras (the capital). Preliminary findings are being presented at the Congreso de Primatologia del Nuevo Mundo in Colombia with the proceedings to be published in the report. A formal presentation of the material and findings will also be presented to FUCSA and the Ministry of Forestry and Protected Areas.
Popular press article
An inventory of the vascular plants of the Maquipucuna preserve and buffer zones has been completed after a decade of field work. The inventory, which enumerates over 1,600 species in a core area of 5,000 ha and buffer zone of 20,000 ha, is in press and will appear in the University of California Publications in Botany series in 2001. The flora of the area is mostly cloud forest at intermediate elevations (1200--2800 m) on the western slopes of Ecuadorian Andes west of Quito. Botanical exploration of the area is continuing by botanists from the University of California and the Herbario Nacional, Quito, with support from the Fundacion Maquipucuna. The continually updated inventory will serve as a baseline for biodiversity studies of Andean cloud forests, and will provide data for biogeographic studies and a floristic manual of the vascular flora in the cloud forests of Pichincha Province, Ecuador.
The project will provide an objective evaluation of the real conservation status and needs of the flora of an internationally recognized hotspot, Chile. Rarely has a full set of existing protected areas been fully inventoried in any part of the world. It will draw attention to the need for collaboration of the private sector for biodiversity protection, and highlight the effect of present land-use patterns. Also, attention will be drawn to the high costs of biodiversity exploration in the present century and of the relative merits of "obtaining more field data" versus conservation modeling. It will highlight what can and cannot be done in a rapidly developing country, where scientific manpower is still very limited.
The aims of the project are to:
A total of 13 protected areas will be fully inventoried in a first phase of four years. Based on species-accumulation analysis for 0.5º x 0.5º grids, exploration of poorly collected areas in central Chile will be intensified through fieldwork. Algorithms such as World map will be applied to detect priority conservation areas. A comprehensive specimen-based database will be overlaid on recent land-use survey to detect habitat erosion, using GIS.
The project was initiated in 1998, and, in its first phase is expected to end in early 2002. Published products are beginning to appear, following a major field effort of three years, and recompilation of existing floristic data for all of central Chile. The near-expected products are floristic catalogs, analytical scientific papers addressing priority conservation areas, web pages, and eventually books. In that full knowledge of the entire floras of all protected areas will be available, this will be the first study of its kind for a species-rich and highly endemic Mediterranean-type climate area. The information generated is expected to be vital for future Red Data book assessments, and efforts to incorporate the private sector in biodiversity conservation.
Pernambuco Biodiversity Assessment and Atlas (website)
The Secretary of Science, Technology and Environment of the Pernambuco State is coordinating a great effort to produce the first "Pernambuco Biodiversity Atlas." Pernambuco is a state in northeastern Brazil that includes the famous Brazilian archipelago island of Fernando de Noronha, unique for its volcanic origin and marine ecosystem. Pernambuco harbors different ecosystems, ranging from mangroves to the Atlantic Forest. The dominant vegetation in Pernambuco is Caatinga, a type of tropical dry forest characterized by a number of endemic species.
Four modules compose this project:
The results of this project will provide land managers, planners, scientists, and policy makers with the information that they need to make better-informed decisions.
Dr. William O. McLarney, the founder and director of ANAI, "Linking conservation and sustainable development for the world's tropics" and the Talamanca Biomonitoring Chair in Costa Rica, is working to link biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Talamanca is at once Costa Rica's most biologically and culturally diverse region and its poorest. There is now a local demand for biomonitoring information, and ANAI is striving to make stream biomonitoring an integral part of Talamancan life. The Stream Biomonitoring Training Center in association with the Upper Little Tennessee River Watershed Project (North Carolina and Georgia, USA) is being used as a training site for personnel from the Talamanca canton of Costa Rica. The overarching theme is to contribute to making a concern for biodiversity an integral part of local culture.
The term "Stream Biodiversity Monitoring Training Center" does not presently apply to any physical place, but rather to a set of activities ongoing in Talamanca. In this largely volunteer-staffed project, biodiversity monitoring is the major tool applied toward environmental education and citizen action on behalf of the watershed. Participants range from middle school students to retirees, from disadvantaged youths to county officials. We will be able to increase both the level of local participation and the degree of sophistication of local involvement in development and biodiversity conservation planning and decision-making. This fully developed stream biomonitoring project, now in its 14th year, has been used as a training site for individuals from Talamanca in the past, and is available for that purpose during 2001-2002 and beyond.
In Talamanca, the stream work will gradually be linked with other ongoing ANAI program areas, including organic agroforestry, sustainable forest management, monitoring of neotropical migratory and resident birds and community-controlled ecotourism, as well as with a sea turtle conservation project, which already functions as an important international training site.
By the end of 2002 we expect to have in place all of the elements necessary to make stream biomonitoring a fixture in Talamancan life, with capacity to respond to local concerns and involve local citizens in many capacities. We also expect to have in place the basic framework of a training program and facility to serve other institutions and individuals in the tropics with an interest in biomonitoring.
Once the stream program is running at full capacity we anticipate that the Biomonitoring Program will increasingly integrate these and other projects in an effort to make biodiversity conservation a core value in Talamanca, and monitoring of biodiversity a basic tool for measuring the success, not only of explicit conservation measures, but also of land management and development initiatives. The first steps toward this integration are already being taken in the form of discussions and meetings within the ANAI staff and associates.
The Caroní River is estimated to be one of the richest rivers in the world for its production of alluvial gold and diamonds and for its hydro electrical potential. Five-river parks stand on the northeastern border of the Guayana Shield, a large crystalline metamorphic landmass, estimated to be between 3.6 - 2.7 billion years old. The river basin is between 3.4º and 8.4º N latitudes and 64.1º W longitudes. Together, these parks cover an area of about 3.422 hectares of a sanctuary for wildlife. Its total length is 840 kilometers and its surface area 95 kilometers squared.
The importance of the Caroní river parks is threefold:
A CD-ROM, to present the wild fauna and flora of the parks to a broad audience, will be produced and made available during IBOY. Due to the urbanization and major change in the lifestyle environment of local communities, the people have become unaware of surrounding nature and its importance to human welfare. This CD-ROM is intended mainly for outsiders and national visitors as a means to draw the parks to the attention of the local politicians.
Over 450 botanical species and a number of local wildlife are shown on CD-ROM containing over 1,000 pictures, more than 20 videos, information, quizzes and trivia. Much care was put in order to produce a balanced presentation of the most common vegetation of each natural environment studied (be it savanna, a deciduous forest, a water body or a grasslands) where several native or introduced species were left on place, or were planted for shading or landscaping. Emphasis is put on the blossoming season for each botanical species. Language is meant for the general public. The purpose of this product is not to present a complete checklist of botanical species and of wildlife; instead, we concentrated on the plants which are more common, outstanding, showy or have any economical or cultural meaning, especially the ones any tourist may easily observe when he visits or wanders around in the parks.
The purpose of this product is to present economical and cultural meaning to possible tourists. This electronic book shall also have a great educational importance in schools, libraries, and universities in Venezuela. We hope this important project will influence executives and politicians to take efficient provisions to defend nature in Guayana and to stimulate related projects in the future.
A two-page article about the development of the CD-Rom was published in El Correo del Caroní (picture) on July 2, 2001 entitled "La Naturaleza de Guayanean los Parques del Caroní".
The CD-ROM has placed second in the Digital Books category of the Premio Calidad Editorial 2001 contest. This annual award is given by the Centro Nacional del Libro (CENAL), and is a prestigious Venezuelan editorial prize. CENAL selected the CD-ROM to represent Venezuela at international book fairs. Past book fairs include the 15th Feria Internacional del Libro de Bogotá (Colombia International Book Fair) from April 24 to May 6, and in the V Feria Internacional del Libro de Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic International Book Fair) from April 25 to May 5. The project was shown at an interactive kiosk.
Last updated December 4, 2002
IBOY took place during 2001 and 2002 and is now completed. Information on the projects, activities and products that took place during IBOY are available on these pages. Many of the projects are still continuing their research and education activities and links to their homepages can be found on the project pages.
For more information on on-going activities of IBOY's parent organization, DIVERSITAS, see http://www.icsu.org/DIVERSITAS