What methods do you use to monitor biodiversity in the Amazon?
Essentially, we want to demonstrate to stakeholders how engineering and conservation needs can be planned together to create a smart approach for smart-sustainable infrastructure development.
In order to assess and monitor biodiversity in the Amazon, we first define the site-specific questions that will be answered by the monitoring program. What ecosystems, critical habitats and species of conservation concern are represented in the area? What are the potential impacts of the project on species and habitats? What species can be the best indicators for monitoring “vital signs?” What are the potential impacts of the project on wildlife, and how we can help mitigate these impacts? What are the specific impacts on wildlife, habitats or ecosystem services?
Then, we focus on the key questions and develop the BMAP research protocols that will help respond the questions. To understand the potential impacts of a project(s) in a large biodiversity rich landscape, we use participatory ecosystem services assessment of the area and landscape scenario planning. This allows conservation and development to work together in planning for future smart-infrastructure development projects, protecting conservation areas, maintaining landscape connectivity and implementing conservation actions.
We also use a variety of other methods to monitor many other variables such as drones, acoustic monitoring, radio tracking, water and stream quality, among others. A combination of different monitoring approaches allows better conservation and smart-sustainable infrastructure design and implementation for mapping out “no-go” development areas, design conservation corridors, and avoid, minimize, restore and offset projects impacts.
Course participants also learned from case studies and were presented with lessons learned from multiple projects. We shared where to find important information, how to engage relevant stakeholders in the project design, and how to analyze the environmental variables that will determine how the project will meet the social, economic and environmental sustainability goals.