CHAMPIONS OF CIAT

Paula Paz, scientific talent for a greener world

In the last decade, there has been a significant increase in geospatial data for tracking changes in plant cover on Earth. The rapid generation of this data and the creation of new methods for detecting deforestation has been of great importance for decision-makers concerned with conservation.

Paula Paz, from CIAT’s Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) and Agroecosystems and Sustainable Landscapes (ASL) research areas, has worked for two years with governments in Latin America to increase the adoption of Terra-i, a tool for monitoring changes in plant cover that was developed by CIAT researchers and colleagues.

Terra-i generates specialized information for sustainable land use and conservation of natural resources and ecosystems. It is constantly updated and allows for results to be analyzed with high-resolution imagery, which are useful for climate change mitigation and conservation of forests and biodiversity.

Paula has supported the Terra-i team with analysis of geospatial data, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and the coordination and execution of fieldwork to identify causes of deforestation. She has also helped colleagues evaluate the accuracy of Terra-i results using drones, GPS and satellite images. Her work has led to the implementation of Terra-i data by users and decision-makers in Colombia, Peru and Honduras.

It is essential to work hand-in-hand with data users in government because they must take ownership of the data to better understand it and use it for impact, said Paula, highlighting the work she has done with the Peruvian Ministry of Environment (MINAM), the Honduran Forest Conservation Institute and the CVC in Valle del Cauca, who have adopted the Terra-i tool for monitoring forests.

Paula Paz

Research Assistant, CIAT, p.a.paz@cgiar.org

In April, Paula and her team will officially launch the Terra-i tool in Honduras, to generate data and statistical reports on deforestation in the country to help decision-makers understand the causes of deforestation in the country.

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