Biodiversity Monitoring: 1,500 Local Monitors Trained Over Nine Years

MPB enters its final stage after promoting participatory monitoring in 18 conservation units

August, 2022 - The Participatory Biodiversity Monitoring (MPB) project was one of the first PCAB initiatives directly linked to the objective of conserving biological diversity in the Amazon. It entered its final stage in July, after working in 18 conservation units (UCs) and almost 12.67 million hectares of forest.

The MPB engages traditional communities to advance biodiversity conservation and management. Since it was launched nine years ago, the project has trained 1,487 local monitors and benefited over 4,653 people.

The MPB created innovative monitoring models, as well as an entirely new methodology. The Knowledge Gatherings events brought together a wide range of partners, such as local leaders, ICMBio managers, monitors, and researchers. 

MPB is PCAB activities, managed by IPÊ (Institute for Ecological Research) in partnership with the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio). The project is supported by USAID/Brazil and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and is part of the National Biodiversity Monitoring Program (Monitora).

“We [have gathered to] celebrate the activities developed in different conservation units in almost a decade since the MPB was launched. Seeing so many people engaged in collective construction and biodiversity conservation, together with the involvement of communities in the project, is, without a doubt, our greatest legacy,” said MPB coordinator Cristina Tófoli.

For Cathy Hamlin, USAID/Brazil Environment Program director, the efforts under the initiative have helped to refine national policies and contributed to other USAID projects.

“For us, the MPB was an important tool to disseminate the importance of biodiversity to communities that rely on the forest, and empower them to know and protect it even more. I am happy to be here celebrating the success of this project, and to congratulate all our partners for their great work, which will surely leave a strong legacy behind,” said Hamlin at a meeting held in May to present the results.

Empowerment — Since 2018, IPÊ sponsored 16 on-site Knowledge Gatherings, as well as 2 extensive seminars, only nine were carried out in different conservation units.  The most recent event took place in the municipality of Pedra Branca do Amapari, in the state of Amapá, to discuss biodiversity conservation at the Tumucumaque National Park.

“Tumucumaque was the first conservation unit to host a Knowledge Gathering. Returning to these communities to discuss the results achieved in almost a decade of participatory monitoring is of great importance to all of us, who built the MPB. In addition to disseminating and promoting horizontal discussions on the results of participatory monitoring in these territories, this is an excellent opportunity to bring local residents closer to this conservation unit,” said Tófoli at the event.

The event was attended by community members, monitors, researchers, and students and professors from the Federal University of Amapá (UNIFAP), as well as representatives of the Municipal Secretariat for the Environment.

Participants learned about the participatory monitoring of plants, birds, mammals, and butterflies in the Montanhas do Tumucumaque National Park.  They interpreted eight year project results related to the monitoring findings. 

Jackiel Cássio has been a local biodiversity monitor since 2014. He says that the project has changed his perspective on environmental conservation. “I am very pleased to know that the work I do in Tumucumaque helps to inform ICMBio's research on biodiversity monitoring. Before becoming a monitor, I had no idea what monitoring was, and I didn't know the importance of the national park for the preservation of nature—not only for the community and its surroundings, but for biodiversity in general, and the entire planet. The exchanges enabled by the Knowledge Gatherings only reinforce my views on this.”

The Montanhas do Tumucumaque National Park is Brazil’s largest national park, located on the border of the states of Pará and Amapá and shares international borders with Suriname and French Guiana. It is one of the largest protected rainforest areas in the world, with an area of 3.7 million hectares.

Events held in 2022 – Rio Trombetas Biological Reserve, Cazumbá-Iracema Extractive Reserve, Baixo Juruá Extractive Reserve, Itatupã-Baquiá Sustainable Development Reserve, Jamari National Forest, Rio Ouro Preto Extractive Reserve, Rio Unini Extractive Reserve, Jaú Extractive Reserve, and Montanhas do Tumucumaque National Park.

A general report on the project from 2013 to 2022 has been published under the title of “Conservation Dialogues – Participatory Biodiversity Monitoring: Contributions to the Conservation of Protected Areas in the Amazon”.