Biodiversity Monitoring Seminar Discusses Best Practices and Results

From December 4 to 7, ICMBio’s Monitora Program – of which IPÊ is a partner through its Participatory Biodiversity Monitoring program–held  the 1st Collective Knowledge and Learning Seminar in Brasília to discuss its results after five years of implementation. The event was also an opportunity to ,  share best practices, experiences and find pathways for the upcoming years.

Around 70 attendees– including researchers, local monitors, government officials, and NGOs – presented different monitoring initiatives. From value chain monitoring (such as pirarucu and Brazil nut) ,to the monitoring of hunt trees and climate conditions.

The reason monitoring is important for local communities is clear:it helps day-to-day territorial management and in planning for the future actions. Francisco de Souza Carvalho, monitor at the Cazumbá-Iracema Extractivist Reserve in Acre State explained that his community, which has been carrying out monitoring since 2014,  has already seen results, “We learned that monitoring mammals is very important for the community. For instance, we noticed that some animals such as the tapir and the deer were scarce, so we raised awareness in the community to avoid hunting these animals. During the last monitoring period, we noticed that these species have returned.” According to Francisco, he was able to learn during the seminar about other experiences he can take back to his community as inspiration.

One of the main challenges presented by the lecturers was the methodology to  set up protocols and define priority data to gather in a way that is useful for communities on a local level, but that can also help create broad-scale public policies with real-world application. “The seminar showed us that good data analysis can strengthen socio biodiversity and conservation negotiations. It is a  broad initiative, but needs to be facilitated through local management to be useful for larger purposes,” said Kátia Torres, Biodiversity Monitoring and Research Coordinator at ICMBio.

Data processing and data use in communicating to different audiences was another issue discussed at the seminar. Adriana Ramos, Policy and Rights Coordinator at Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) believes that  new strategies to communicate the information from biodiversity monitoring are essential. She urged participants“to be mindful of how to build the credibility of the information.” She suggests, for example, to schedule the release both the data and deforestation information at once, so that the media  has access information about vulnerable places with higher deforestation.

Cristina Tófoli, IPÊ’s Participatory Monitoring Project Coordinator concluded that the seminar accomplished its objectives of bringing together participants and identifying next steps, “The main purpose of this process of building knowledge collectively is to promote knowledge exchange. We managed to bring together most of the institutions and individuals that work with monitoring to share their experiences.”

At the closure, some participants made recommendations around participatory biodiversity and natural resources management. The results of the seminar will be discussed by the communities in Brazil’s conservation units where monitoring is carried out and then consolidated in a second seminar in 2019.

In the Amazon, IPE’s Project reached over 2K people, with capacity building, implementing existing protocols, and workshops. Communities of 17 conservation units are involved in the monitoring process in an area of 12 million hectares. Learn more on IPÊ’s video series.