Consultation workshop to develop a biodiversity monitoring tool. Photos: Juliana Nogueira (Quartzo).

Recently, CIAT led a consultation workshop to start developing a biodiversity monitoring tool that can assess the impact of private-sector investment initiatives on the conservation and restoration of natural and fragmented landscapes in the Amazon.

The workshop brought together approximately 20 organizations currently working with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Brazil – including the Institute of Ecological Research (IPÊ), the United States Forest Service, the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), and Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), as well as other Brazilian government representatives. “The aim was to bring together geospatial imaging and biodiversity experts and form a focus group to come up with innovative ideas on how to measure the impact of an activity on biodiversity over time using geospatial models,” explained Anna Toness, USAID/Brazil environment director.

As part of the agenda, participants attended lectures on different monitoring tools, such as Terra-i, which uses satellite data to detect land-cover and land-use changes, and the use of remote biodiversity monitoring by the Institute for Sustainable Development Mamirauá.

Kátia Ribeiro, ICMBio environmental analyst, remarked that this initiative could be very positive and said, “For us, having access to tools that can effectively monitor the impact of biodiversity actions is a major win. We already have a very large network of initiatives that have developed solutions that talk to each other, and can help generate landscape-scale results.”

All contributions received during the workshop are being reviewed to develop a conceptual framework for the tool and its different contextual applications. Given the experience and knowledge of Brazilian institutions working in the Amazon, the continued participation of key actors in the development of this conceptual framework is of paramount importance. Therefore, discussions with workshop participants will continue.

The outcomes will nurture new CIAT collaborations in Brazil and help us jointly build a biodiversity monitoring approach that can meet both CIAT’s and USAID’s objectives. Furthermore, the approach will be useful for other institutions specialized in biodiversity monitoring, as well as for the private sector as a way to evaluate the performance of their activities in the Amazon region. In fact, such a tool can benefit all sectors of society engaged in the difficult task of balancing the trade-offs between development and environmental conservation.

Consultation workshop to develop a biodiversity monitoring tool. Photos: Juliana Nogueira (Quartzo).

Consultation workshop to develop a biodiversity monitoring tool. Photos: Juliana Nogueira (Quartzo).

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