PROMEBIO strengthens and integrates the region’s ability to generate, analyze, andmake available accurate information on the status of biodiversity throughout Central America w w w.promebio.irbioccad.org
“Biodiversity is Life! How well we use and manage it determines thequality of our lives. . . . If we are to succeed at conservation and sus-tainable use of our biological diversity, we must start looking beyondsingle protected areas or conservation blocks and start consideringentire landscapes. And we must unify efforts within our region. Wemust understand that the question is not about conservation VERSUSdevelopment but instead conservation AND development.” Openingremarks of Dr. Paul Flowers, representative for the Belizean Ministerof Natural Resources and the Environment, Gaspar Vega, Workshop ty is L ! ifeon Biodiversity Protocols for PROMEBIO, August 5, 2010, in Belize City. si odiver Bi
Central America is deeply committed to protec- Implicit in the creation and design of PROMEBIOting its rich biodiversity and natural resources for is the understanding that to effectively conservethe long term, and recognizes that successful con- and sustainably manage environmental resour-servation and management will allow the region to ces and systems they must first be understood.“restore the environment, adapt to climate change, Created thru a consensus of and by the seven Cen-reduce poverty, and, above all, develop a process for tral American countries, PROMEBIO has five in-sustainable human development.” Words of Arturo terrelated goals to be implemented region-wide:Harding, President Protempore, CCAD, October 2005 1. The creation and adoption of a scientifically-in the presentation of the document of PROMEBIO. based methodology to monitor and evaluate bio-All seven Central American nations signed the Con- diversity.vention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that came out 2. The construction of an information system as aof the Rio “Earth Summit” of June 1992, and have central repository and linkage for biodiversityindividual conservation plans in place. The region’s and ecosystem data.governments however, also recognize that natureand ecological systems know no political or cultural 3. The establishment of mechanisms for easy acce-boundaries, and sustainable management and pro- ssibility to this repository and to analysis of thetection will require a collaborative and consistent data.effort. 4. To strengthen the technical capabilities and pro-Thus via the Integration System for Central America vide tools, such as the Global Methodology for(SICA), the institutional framework for collaboration Mapping Human Impacts on the Biodiversityamong the Central American governments, and more (GLOBIO), and to supply the means to assessspecifically through the Central American Commi- the past and present impacts of human activi-ssion on Environment and Development (CCAD), the ties on biodiversity, and to predict future ones.SICA´s secretariat responsible for the region’s envi-ronmental agenda, the seven nations have been ad- 5. To promote the use of this data to inform natio-vancing a unified and active management strategy. nal and regional environmental management andCCAD has now begun implementing this plan which conservation policy makers.will respond to the CBD goals laid out and agreed The Inter-American Development Bank toge-to for the conservation and sustainable use of bio- ther with the governments of seven countries andlogical diversity. It is called a Strategic Regional Pro- Zamorano University have provided the financial,gram for Monitoring and Evaluating Biodiversity, or human and technical resources to implement thePROMEBIO. first phase of PROMEBIO between 2009 and 2011.
Construction of a Scientifically–base methodology for evaluation and monitoring of biodiversityNine indicators agreed upon and implementing the standardized protocols“As a region, we need to be unified, and our positions and policies as consensual as possible – about protec-ted areas, climate change, coastal and marine resources -- so our management decisions are more effective.PROMEBIO is one means towards this end,” observes Lesbia Sevilla, the PROMEBIO Biodiversity commi-ttee member from Costa Rica. “Integrated data and decisions will also mean we are better listened to andheard on the global stage, such as at the Convention on Global Biological Diversity. We are small countriesand our cooperation as one voice will help us safeguard our biological diversity, and gain needed support.”The protocols development team formed by Wilfredo Matamoros, Ph.D specialist in Community Eco-logy, Biogeography, and Conservation Biology, Samuel Rivera Ph.D. specialist in Geographical Informa-tion Systems and Remote Sensing, Hector Portillo Reyes, M.Sc. specialist on Protected Areas Managementand Biological Monitoring and Juan Carlos Carrasco M.Sc. specialist on Restoration of River Ecology andManagement of Coastal and Marine Resources, after a participative process with the involvement of fo-cal points from the CCAD technical comities for Biodiversity and Environmental Information representingthe seven countries, is currently in the last phase of preparation of the protocols for the nine indicators.The nine indicators to monitor biodiversity en Central America are the following:
A Workshop on Biodiversity Protocols for PROMEBIOApproximately thirty people, including Central American government representatives, biodiversity experts,staff and special guests attended the most recent meeting of the PROMEBIO during August 5-7, 2010 in BelizeCity. The event was hosted by Marcelo Windsor and Edgar Ek, representatives of Belize, and the Presidencypro tempore of the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD). The meetingprovided the opportunity for presentations, discussion, and planning for the final development phase of themonitoring and evaluation tool, and also for the upcoming United Nations Convention on Biological Diversityin Nagoya, Japan in October 2010.During the two day meeting in Belize, developing the protocols for the indicators to be used to standar-dize PROMEBIO data gathering to monitor and evaluate biodiversity was discussed. Three biologistspresented their work on a methodology to evaluate river health. An expert on satellite mapping tech-nologies and global positioning systems (GPS) spoke about the advantages and challenges in effectivelymapping biodiversity trends and the used of the latest tools and software to be implemented by PROMEBIO. Participants at the PROMEBIO meeting in Belize City, August 2010
A training and Technicians from Central American government offices and from NGO partnershipvalidation course institutions participated in this course held in Zamorano, Honduras, 11-13 of Octoberon protocols was 2010. The course objectives were to provide a practical approach to implementing theheld in Honduras protocols for the nine biodiversity indicators and get feedback from the participants.The protocols The protocols proposals for the indicators at the species level are of inclusive format, which means they can be use for sampling or monitoring of several species or popula- tions at the same site. For example, sampling in the rivers will serve for the monitoring of fish, macro-invertebrates, or other specimens collected, this with the intention of not focusing on a particular species and protocols may have a wider range of use. For camera traps, the technicians will take pictures of all kinds of animals, as well as the specifically targeted groups.Infrared trap The technicians were presented with infrared cameras for assisting in field observation ofcamera proto- mammals and data collection. The cameras are easy to use and are a non-invasive optioncols for mam- to monitoring mammal populations.mals The infrared cameras are secured to tress using cables at knee level above the ground. This provides a wide angle view to observe other small and medium-sized species captured in the photos.Avian monito- The technicians were also presented with a protocol for the monitoring and eva-ring Protocols luation of bird populations. This protocol will be part of the manual to be published in 2011. The protocol describes the steps required to establish a monitoring program for birds. It includes methods to calculate the population size, indexes of producti- vity and survival, age and sex distribution, relationships with habitat and other para- meters. It describe in detail four methods for the determination of the size of the po- pulation, two methods for the measurement of demographic factors and two habitat assessment systems. It also provides information on basic requirements for equipment, personnel, resources and techniques necessary to implement the program. Depen- ding on available financial and human resources, various combinations of the methods described in the protocol can be adapted to virtually any situation and budget.
The protocols proposed for the river biomonitoring is the concept of river conti-nuum. The River Continuum Concept indicates changes in the composition ofspecies that are related to variations along an altitudinal gradient in ri-verine systems from the lower basin of the river up to the lowerbasin. Under this concept, taxa will be identified that allow usto track changes in biota and enable us to assess ecologicalintegrity, also measure the displacement of exotic spe-cies that compete with native species by presentinga risk to the integrity of the species and its envi-ronment. This concept was first developed byRobin L. Vannote in 1980 with researchers atStroud Water Research Center. This metho-dology is used in some rivers of Northand South America, but little researchhas been done in Central America, theuse of this protocol presents a goodopportunity to better understand theecology of the region’s rivers and de-velop an experience on the topic.It is important to emphasize thatwithout basic information on bio-diversity, distribution, biology andecology of the fish communitiesthat inhabit the region’s rivers, thetask of developing managementmeasures for the conservationof our river systems is even moredifficult for both governmentalnatural resource managementagencies and private agencies.This protocol is designed with thepurpose of providing a commonuse understandable sampling toolto be adopted and used by differentagencies of natural resource manage-ment in the region, aiming to gene-rate significant and useful informationabout our river systems and its biodiversity.The Central American rivers are being radi-cally changed due to hydroelectric developmentin the region, the introduction of exotic species,and contamination with both inorganic and organicchemicals. These interventions, that may negatively affectour river systems, can be at least prevented or mitigated pro-perly only when you have the knowledge of the biological and ecologi-cal functions that are being affected by the interventions in these systems.
Protocols for Ecosystem, Ecoregion and Fragmentation Indicators Eco-regions are “natural pro- vinces” where the main ecologi- cal processes that maintain di- versity occur. Therefore the ad- ministration of any eco-region resources should be coordinated beyond geopolitical boundaries (TNC, 2007). Monitoring eco- regionally allows us to envision landscape linkages and gives us a picture of conservation by coun- try but in an integrated manner. For this reason, monitoring is extremely important to high- lighting those ecosystems of large tracts of continuously, and also those small ecosystems and unique remnants found for some reason near to disappear. Ecosystem map for Central AmericaFor the indicators at the ecosystem, eco-region level and fragmentation the protocols will use different infor-mation system technologies and data bases, which are available to the countries and provided by the regionaland global databases. Remote sensing has become an impor- tant tool for the analysis of the dynamics of the vegetative cover. Its use combined with GIS technology has allowed increa- se the chances of retrieving information from landscapes and regions in a compre- hensive way optimizing natural resource planning. The proposed protocol will ex- plain step by step the methodology for the calculation of the different indicators. An example of technology to be used for selecting images.
The PROMEBIO team is planning to implement (in 2011) six pilot projects in the field to test and refine the system and demonstrate the feasibi- lity of its usefulness. The pilot projects are loca- ted in natural habitats and protected areas that exist within two or more regional nation’s borders. These areas include 1) the Mayan jungle shared by Belize and Guatemala, 2) the Plan Trifinio, a tri-na- tional conservation area in the Montecristo Trina- tional Protected Area located within contiguous areas of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, 3) the Gulf of Fonseca within borders with El Salvador, Hondu- ras and Nicaragua, 4) the Heart of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor shared by Honduras and Nica- ragua, 5) the Rio San Juan watershed located along both sides of the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica and 6) the Rio Sixaola conservation area located along the Costa Rican and Panamian border.The project is now creating web portals and other tools to ensure the information is readily accessible andeasy to understand. “When trying to find out about a species or habitat, you often don’t know where togo,” explains Gilberto Lara, the PROMEBIO In-formation System for the Environment (SIAM)committee member from El Salvador. “You endup contacting scientists, universities, local and fe-deral governments, and even international con-servation organizations trying to find what youneed and this takes significant time without a gua-rantee of success. PROMEBIO fixes this problem.”The objective of the conceptual model is to deve-lop a preliminary design for all the aspects of thesystem, including sub-systems, databases to beintegrated, and how to carry out the exchange ofinformation with other networks.PROMEBIO is planned as a system whose main ob-jective would be to “generate and provide harmo-nized and systematized information, of regional interest about the state of biodiversity, that would allow us toevaluate the changes in its prioritized components and that would contribute to the decision making process”(PROMEBIO operational plan).The information systems specialist Boris Ramirez explain that “ in order to reach this objective, the in-formation system of PROMEBIO must be a union of several sub-systems, which would be integratedinto a central system. The biodiversity thematic node is based on the concept of distributed informa-tion networks. A distributed network is one in which the information is not stored exclusively in justone place, but it is stored in a distributed manner in several places at the same time. In this way the to-tal of the information in the network is the sum of each of its parts. The system should permit easy inte-gration with existing national and regional information networks such as IABIN, GBIF and CBD-CHM”.The Coordinator of the project, Suyapa Triminio Meyer, also announced the launch of the PROMEBIO website(www.promebio.irbioccad.org) where reports on biodiversity modeling results, manuals and other infor-mation related to the region´s biodiversity can now be accessed.
Capacity Building GLOBIO: a modeling tool for drivers of presures on Biodiversity The last step to effectively integrating PROMEBIO into regional planning and management is to pro- vide training and capacity building for key govern- ment officials to facilitate the incorporation of this valuable data into environmental management and conservation projects and policies. Towards this end GLOBIO specialists supplied by the Neth- erlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) have provided technical assistance and training to two information coordinators from each regional country. The project experts also plan to provide additional workshops in the future to explain PROMEBIO’s uses and applications to the staff of SICA’s environmental ministries and other in- terested parties. “GLOBIO provides information easy to under- stand displayed in maps and reports that show the relationships between human activities and biodivesity,” observes Suyapa Triminio Meyer, Coordinator of the PROMEBIO and GLOBIO Central American Projects. “As such it is a valu- First GLOBIO workshop, held in February of 2009 able tool for Central America to use to find ways on Geographic Information System Center, De- we can change our behaviors to better protect partment of Socioeconomic Development and the our valuable natural systems and resources.” Environment, Zamorano University, Honduras. Report cover for the Technical Report for the modeling of the drivers for bio- diversity loss in Central America. The maps present the actual status of the biodiversity for 2008 (right) and pro- jected for 2030 (left). Complete information on the subject and this report are available at the PROMEBIO web site.
PROMEBIO Life Web Initiative integration In the Global scenario, during the Belize Workshop, Jason Spensley, Program Officer for the Life Web Initiative, Managed by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) presented the with other Life Web’s initiative “partnership platform,” which is a means to connect financial and technical assistance from developed nations to developing countries.regional and The platform acts as a clearinghouse for information on pro- posals and lines of investments from cooperating nations and the priorities and specific conservation projects of recipient’s global countries. It gives developing nations assistance in communi- cating with multiple potential financing entities and by conve- ning roundtable meetings to pursue development cooperation. initiatives Life Web is currently assisting CCAD with the organization of a donor roundtable to be held in Guatemala in 2011. Road to Nagoya 2010 The country representatives agreed on a strategy for fleshing out their positions and coming to a consensus before the CBD meeting. They resolved to have a unified proposal drawn up that Belize, as president pro tem of CCAD, would have to re- ference in representing the interests of Central America. As Marcelo Windsor the Belizean representative observed “Our Central American forests and marine sanctuaries secure biodi- versity, combat climate change and help reduce poverty when they are managed sustainably”. “At the Convention on Biological Diversity we want to find alliances with funding nations that will help us move forward as a region. Belize intends to see to it that the interests of all Central Americans are respected. Because really, protecting the Central American environment and our biodiversity is in the best interest of the whole world.” Regional partner In the regional scenario PROMEBIO has invited the Biodiversity Partnership of Mesoamerica (BPM), a platform for public-pri- vate alliances to promote sustainable development. BPM was originally created in 2008 as a cooperative effort between three private corporations: REWE, a European su- permarket chain, Chiquita Brands International, Corbana the National Banana Corporation of Costa Rica and the German In- ternational Development Agency (GTZ). Protected Areas Commission Dr. Eduard Müller of the International Union for the Conserva- tion of Nature’s World Commission on Protected Areas (PAs) expressed “If we don’t have information about what’s happe- ning with biodiversity we can’t make decisions. We know from anecdotal evidence that there are massive changes in the cloud forest. We see that climate change is starting to hit hard. But many world bodies can’t adequately address these problems, because there is not enough evidence. With data collected by tools like PROMEBIO we can better examine and prove the efficacy of Protected Areas and other conservation methods, and harness our resources more effectively.”
In NagoyaCCAD presented PROMEBIO at a special event on Central America, held du-ring the 10th meeting of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversityin October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan. The PROMEBIO committee members see thesystem as an important way to integrate not only their environmental policieson a regional level, but also their ability to affect decisions on a global scale.PROMEBIO Partners: PBL, Universidad Zamorano, CBD in the environmental de-partment held a meeting during the Conference of the parties COPX in Nagoyato analyze the results of the modeling of biological diversity, the collaborationthat they had for three years and its future. Their eloquent words on the re-sults of this collaboration were expressive and confirmed the desire to con-tinue this collaboration expanding to other subjects and tools that have beendeveloped to be used in Central America. Poster presented at Nagoya 2010 on its English version and presented at the Mesoameri- can Congress of the Biology and Conservation Society in Costa Rica 2010 in the Spanish version www.twentyten.net/affiliatepartnersOfficers of PBL Holanda, Zamorano University and PROMEBIO in Nagoya, japan Contact information Credits Suyapa Triminio Meyer Edition: Suyapa Triminio Meyer Coordinator Interviews: Lee Shane Proyecto PROMEBIO-BID-CCAD-Zamorano Design: Mildred Lagos Vivas 504-27766140 ext 2428 firstname.lastname@example.org Expert partners: Boris Ramírez Arie Sanders Wilfredo Matamoros Socioeconomic Development Faculty Juan Carlos Carrasco Samuel Rivera Zamorano University email@example.com Hector Portillo Pictures: Margarita Salazar Suyapa Triminio Meyer CCAD-SICA Lee Shane (Belize group metting) firstname.lastname@example.org Pictures page 5: Juan Carlos Carrasco