Brazil has non quantified number of conservation GIS user groups working at universities, private, non-profit and governmental organizations, which are mainly located in the South and Southeast regions of the country.
At regional scales GIS applications for conservation have mainly helped our society identify priority sites for conservation, design new protected areas, build conservation strategies and prioritize the use of available conservation resources.
Although access to GIS technology and use of spatial data has increased in the last ten years, access to GIS technology as well as the nature, volume and scale of available datasets greatly vary among different regions in Brazil. Regions where capacity building is mostly needed or where spatial databases are not available are often those where conservation needs are most urgent. Additionally, we can confidently say that there is still a great demand to local access to GIS technology in all regions.
With this proposal we aim at decentralizing the GIS capacity in Brazil to some of the regions where conservation is mostly urgent. We wish to extend the benefits of GIS community building and technology to field sites, allowing local users to generate and disseminate spatial information, so that they can make informed decisions influencing conservation. We also hope to strengthen collaboration between organizations and instructors that are submitting this proposal. These organizations have a strong relationship and a long history of work together in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, working as partners in other conservation projects.
Biological importance of focused areas
We have chosen to focus four biodiversity corridors in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest: the Serra do Mar Corridor, Central Corridor, Northeast Corridor and Mantiqueira Biodiversity Corridor (this corridor is part of Serra do Mar corridor) (Figure 1). Biodiversity corridors are centers of species endemism that have been incorporated into public policy as planning units and that guide conservation organizations actions in the Atlantic Forest. The Atlantic Forest of Brazil is one of the mostly threatened ecosystems in the world. It is indicated as one of the the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots (Mittermeier et al., 2004). Within the boarders of Brazil it originally covered ~ 135,000 km2, distributed across 27 degrees of latitude. Today, the remaining vegetation covers approximately 8% of the Atlantic Forest original extent (Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica & INPE 2002; Galindo-Leal & Câmara 2003). Despite habitat loss and its extreme fragmentation, the Atlantic Forest still shelters a significant portion of Brazil’s biological diversity, much of it still unknown. Biodiversity and endemism numbers are exemplified by figures such as the occurrence of 20,000 plant species, 8,000 estimated to be endemic, and 1,991 terrestrial vertebrate species, 599 estimated to be endemic to the Atlantic Forest (Fonseca et al. 2004).
Organizations/ Research institutions involved
Seven non-profit organizations, working in different locations and with complementary conservation approaches are going to be directly involved in this GIS community building project: Conservation International Brasil – CI Brazil
The Golden Lion Tamarin Association - AMLD
Instituto BioAtlântica - IBIO
Instituto de Estudos Sócio-Ambientais do Sul da Bahia - IESB
Associação para a Proteção da Mata Atlântica do Nordeste - AMANE
Secretaria de Agricultura, Abastecimento, Pesca e Desenvolvimento do Interior do Estado do Rio de Janeiro – SEAAPI
Although some local GIS training initiatives have been carried out by two organizations (SEAAPI and IESB), all organizations listed above do not have separate GIS budgets. They have been successful raising funds for their conservation work, and sometimes have hard times finding donors for capacity building GIS work. This initiative and donation may help increase GIS importance awareness inside and outside our own organizations.
Conservation International – Brasil CI-Brasil
CI-Brasil is a Brazilian non-profit organization, which designs and manages conservation programs in accordance to Conservation International´s global strategy and mission of conserving Earth’s living heritage and demonstrating that human societies can live harmoniously with nature. CI-Brasil has five offices and programs located in regions where conservation needs are most urgent in Brazil: the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado hostspots, Pantanal and Amazonia wilderness areas, and at the Brazilian coast. In 2006, we directly worked along with 129 partner organizations (environmental/conservation NGOs, the private sector, Universities and the Brazilian government) that have helped us increase the spatial scale of our conservation actions and implement our regional projects. This strategy has also contributed to increasing the number of people working for conservation in Brazil
Since its creation in 1990, of CI-Brazil’s projects have directly influenced the creation of 234,097 km2 of public protected areas and 119 km2 of private reserves.
The Golden Lion Tamarin Association – AMLD
The Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado (AMLD) is a Brazilian non profit institution, whose mission is toconserve the Atlantic Forest with emphasis in the preservation of the golden lion tamarin in its habitat. Created in 1992 with the objective of strengthening and coordinating the Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Program (founded in 1983), AMLD contributes to the conservation of the Atlantic Forest biodiversity, and guarantees a better quality of life for human communities in the São João River Basin (RJ), by promoting sustainable development of local communities, researches and environmental education actions. For that, AMLD maintains partnerships with countless institutions: government, civil society and researchers, be then national as foreigners.
Instituto BioAtlântica - IBio
Instituto BioAtlântica (IBio) is a not-for-profit civil society organization, aimed at conserving the Atlantic Forest and related ecosystems. IBIO´s strategy is to promote partnerships and build bridges among various segments of society – the corporate, environmental, government and scientific areas. Established in 2002, IBio represented the culmination of five years of dialogue between its founders: Conservação Internacional do Brasil, Aracruz Celulose, Petrobras, Veracel Celulose and DuPont do Brasil. As a result of its activities, IBio attracted potential partners from a variety of different sectors, and two new members joined the group in 2004: the environmental organization The Nature Conservancy and the governmental energy company Furnas Centrais Elétricas. The principal focus of IBio’s activities, the Atlantic Forest, is one of the planet’s most threatened biomes, which nowadays covers less than 10% of its original area. The region accounts for more than 80% of Brazil’s GDP and is the home of 70% of the country’s population, as well as providing a habitat for a number of endangered species, many of which are unique to this biome.
IBio is currently developing integrated activities along three strategic lines: Sustainable Landscapes, the Conservation of Biological Diversity on Private Lands and Sustainable Water Basins. In its projects, IBio has qualified professionals from different backgrounds and areas of human knowledge, working together cooperatively in an interdisciplinary manner.
All the projects are carried out by means of creative and innovative partnerships, involving groups ranging from rural and indigenous communities all the way up to the largest corporations, and including environmental organizations, development agencies, government bodies and research institutes in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and Bahia.
Instituto de Estudos Sócio-Ambientais do Sul da Bahia - IESB
The ‘Instituto de Estudos Sócio-Ambientais do Sul da Bahia’- IESB is a non-profit science based conservation organization. Its actions focus on finding a common ground for economic development and conservation. IESB was founded in 1994 by a group of researchers, professors and students in Southern Bahia. Its mission is to promote biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources, improving the quality of life local of communities in the Atlantic Forest Central Corridor. Since its creation, IESB has worked for the inclusion of local communities in decision making processes by reinforcing participatory work with local communities and by building local capacity.
IESB has helped the development of new methodologies and tools for environmental analysis. It has also fomented economic alternatives to exploring renewable natural resources, supported the creation and management of protected areas, proposed environmental public policies, promoted better ecotourism practices and capacity building through partnerships with research institutions, local national and international conservation organizations, universities and the Brazilian government.
In 12 years working in Southern Bahia, IESB has built one of the greatest geographic databases for this region, which has become a local and national reference in information. In 2003, IESB published a CD-ROM “Corredor de Biodiversidade da Mata Atlântica do Sul da Bahia” a partnership with Conservação Internacional government institutions.
In 2003, with resources from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), IESB and Conservação International created the ‘Institutional Strengthening Program’.
This project has provided technical support and infra-structure to 31 small conservation NGOs located in the Atlantic Forest Central Corridor. This initiative has helped local conservation organizations increase their fundraising capacity. This proposal builds on training and GIS community building initiatives that are already taking place in Atlantic Forest Central corridor.
Associação para a Proteção da Mata Atlântica do Nordeste - AMANE
The Associação para a Proteção da Mata Atlântica do Nordeste - AMANE is a not-for-profit civil society organization, aimed at protecting the Atlantic Forest and related ecosystems in the Northeast of Brazil, considering physical, biotic and anthropic aspects. In order to reach this objective AMANE takes actions in conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development.
AMANE was born from a pact among eight NGOs: CEPAN, Sociedade Nordestina de Ecologia – SNE, Instituto Amigos da Reserva da Biosfera da Mata Atlântica – IA RBMA, Conservation International – CI, The Nature Conservancy – TNC, Birdlife International – BI / Associação para Proteção das Aves do Brasil – SAVE Brasil; WWF – Brasil e Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica – SOS. This pact, named The Murici Pact, was signed on May 19th, 2004, with the mission of protecting the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast, being then formalized through the creation of AMANE. All eight organizations became AMANE´s partners and integrate its council.
In order to fulfill its mission AMANE has a project to plan and implement a set of articulated measures, in local and regional scales, in an eco region called Pernambuco Endemism Center, which includes the states of Pernambuco and Alagoas. With this project AMANE intends to drastically reduce the extinction of species typical of the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast and provide models of sustainable development.
This project has already been started with activities related to the sustainable development of Pacas Settlement, Murici; to supporting the creation and management of a Private Protected Areas in Pernambuco and to building capacity for the management of Protected Areas.
Embrapa Soils - National Soil Research Center.
Embrapa Soils aims at integrating knowledge from soil processes and plant growth into a predictive understanding of complex interactions at the level of populations and ecosystems. Special emphasys is given to the following areas where there are important opportunities and strategic requirements for a robust profile: soil fertility, no-tillage and precision farming, agro-ecology (soil biodiversity), soils and global change (mitigation of greenhouse effect), and environmental diagnosis and monitoring.
Secretaria de Agricultura, Abastecimento, Pesca e Desenvolvimento do Interior do Estado do Rio de Janeiro - SEAAPI
The ‘Superintendência de Microbacias of the Secretaria de Secretaria de Agricultura, Abastecimento, Pesca e Desenvolvimento do Interior do Estado do Rio de Janeiro – SEAAPI is a Brazilian government institution that works as a partner of CI-Brazil in five watersheds in N – NW in Rio de Janeiro State. Although located in the Atlantic Forest region, these watersheds have been severely devastation for the last three centuries, seriously affecting local communities quality of life. Our joint project involves ~100 people from diverse institutions aim at recovering native vegetation, promoting sustainable agriculture, and local capacity building. GIS training (not hands on) has been provided to local technicians.
Course Structure and Target Audience Instructors (participants listed below) are going to be separated into groups, who will separately provide GIS training courses, in each biodiversity corridor of the Atlantic Forest, in one a year period.
The overall training structure will be decided by all instructors.
Target audience will be chosen based on the following aspects:
Their local activity and support in local community
Infrastructural support they have (or have obtained through work with other conservation organizations - ‘Institutional Strengthening Program’ of CEPF)
We believe that this characteristics will enable them to continue working and advancing in conservation GIS.
Training will focus on:
GIS and Remote sensing analysis for conservation management
Course audience (students) will cover the following costs:
Low cost hotel and food
Conservation GIS local project
Organizers (instructors) are going to offer:
Training facility including computer and software
Local ground transportation
Project follow up – we are going to give continuous support to their local GIS project. Projects subject are still going to be decided in conjunction with students ( e.g. local conservation atlas that can support environmental education activities, etc.)