USAID and CIAT meet with partners to discuss innovative monitoring methodology combining land use and biodiversity data

On September 17,  the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and USAID held a consultation workshop to start developing a biodiversity monitoring tool to assess impact investment initiatives in the Amazon and other activities carried out in partnership with the private sector - a first of its kind  that combine satellite data on land use with biodiversity monitoring information.

“The idea was to bring together geospatial imaging and biodiversity experts to come up with innovative ideas on how to make this link, i.e., how to measure the impact of an activity on biodiversity over time and with geospatial models. USAID is proposing this as a major approach to evaluate if private sector initiatives in the Amazon really do make a difference.” explained Anna Toness, USAID/Brazil Environment Director. 

The meeting brought together for the first time approximately 20 experts from this field with representatives from the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (IPÊ), the United States Forest Service, the Instituto Chico Mendes de Biodiversidade (ICMBio) and the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM), as well as other Brazilian government representatives. During the day, participants attended lectures on different forms of monitoring – such as the Terra-i System, which helps interpret satellite data on land-use, and the experiments on remote biodiversity monitoring carried out by the Mamirauá Institute in the state of Amazonas.

According to Kátia Ribeiro, ICMBio’s Environmental Analyst, this initiative could be very positive: “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 will be reviewed to develop a conceptual framework for the tool. The continued participation of key actors in the development of this conceptual framework is of paramount importance, given the wide experience and knowledge of Brazilian institutions working in the Amazon. Therefore, discussions with workshop participants will continue. This will foster collaboration and help to jointly build a biodiversity monitoring methodology that can meet both CIAT and USAID objectives. It can also help other institutions specializing in biodiversity monitoring – and benefit all sectors of society engaged in this difficult task.