|Workshop participants. December 11-12, 2019, Colombia. Photo credit: Dr. Maria Londoño|
During the first year of the PEER project, the team developed all the activities related to the societal objectives. They identified local stakeholders and with their participation highlighted EBVs useful for evaluating the success of their territorial management actions on the state of biodiversity. The team also proposed a monitoring scheme with local stakeholders for the EBVs identified and started searching for financial opportunities for its implementation.
In terms of the scientific objectives, the team completed general characterization of the study area using remote sensing products, and produced a functional outlook using MODIS data, with these analyses the team identified key breaking points where functional dynamics had changed, and localized those braking points in time and space. The team is continuing data analysis from radar products derived from satellites and drones, and is preparing inputs for assessing EBV in a multiscale approach.
In terms of political objectives, the team made solid contacts with sub-national and international stakeholders who are interested in following the team's progress and using their results in their management and research objectives. The research team remains in constant communication with their U.S. partner Victor Gutierrez and his team at Temple University, following the progress of his NASA-funded project and this PEER project, and future activity planning was conducted for the upcoming year for purposes of integrating outputs.
During the last quarter of 2019, the team has been working on drafting the monitoring protocol which will be delivered in two formats: (1) as a consulting manual for the communities, decision makers and the academy, and (2) as a brochure specifically designed for the communities in the field. This protocol is based on seven steps of a monitoring cycle previously developed with the communities, which include: 1) identifying a question and addressing it, 2) going into the field and data collection, 3) organizing and submission of information, 4) data analysis and data processing, 5) results' dissemination, 6) management actions, 7) evaluation and debate.
During December 11-12, 2019, the team participated in a workshop with the community of Maria La Baja - Paso el Medio, La Suprema, Palo Altico, San Jacinto, community councils of San Cristobal and Paraiso where they applied the methodology implemented for the Regional Biodiversity Assessments in order to identify socio-ecological relations in the area. This workshop was part of the implementation of a project between Colombia, Brazil and Argentina oriented to develop a collaborative research project about socio-ecological resilience between local communities, Humboldt Institute and Sustainable development corporation (CDS).
Potential development Impacts
(1) Enhanced ability of Colombian institutions to monitor biodiversity: two products of this PEER project, namely: (1) identification of relevant EBVs for communities and decision making, and (2) evaluation of the effectiveness of EBVs to characterize biodiversity, will be applied by the upcoming projects of Humboldt Institute in association with program Riqueza Natural, and Protected Areas Managers in order to: a) enhance the monitoring programs of the dry-forest ecosystems, b) develop biodiversity indicators needed by regional environmental authorities in their reporting to national government. In this process, the resolution 0667 emitted by the Ministry of Environment the 27th of April 2016, where a set of minimum biodiversity indicators was established will be reviewed and a set of new indicators will be developed. Also, the methodology developed for identifying EBV and its monitoring schemes, is being used to generate recommendations to the national government and regional environmental authorities for biodiversity monitoring in Paramo ecosystems. In order to deliver in time and update the information about EBV and biodiversity indicators, in partnership with the U.S. partner, the PEER team is advancing the development of a decision support system, which incorporates and analyzes in situ remote sensing data and makes results available for regional environmental government and researchers. This decision support system, called BioTablero, is being developed using open license and its access is also free and open through: biotablero.humboldt.org.co. Currently, the team are sharing the information about ecosystem structure for three vulnerable ecosystems: tropical dry forests, paramos, and wetlands, highlighting the extent of transformed and natural land cover remaining in each of them, and their representation in the protected areas. In 2020, the team we will include information on forest change and ecosystem function. Three scientific publications are under its way regarding the development of the decision support system.
(2) Empowerment of local communities: the project team secured active participation and commitment of three local communities to implement monitoring projects developed during the first year of the project. The team is supporting these communities in their search for additional financial support to achieve a complete implementation. Local stakeholders broadened their understanding of the importance of having biodiversity information for the sustainable development of their region. A survey was conducted in order to capture the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of the people.
The results of efforts conducted during the first year of the PEER project will be disseminated through three main web-pages: