Bolivia moves towards better forest monitoring with the Terra-i tool

Louis Reymondin, Alejandro Coca

During the last 40 years, Bolivia has been experiencing high land use and land cover changes. Large and small scale activities such as immigration of farmers that practice subsistence agriculture, industrialized agriculture, and pasture establishment for livestock production have put considerable pressure on forests and natural resources. This December 2012, Louis Reymondin and Alejandro Coca spent five days training a team of researchers to use and implement the Terra-i system at the headquarters of the Bolivian National System of Monitoring and Information (SNIB), based in Cochabamba. Additionally, Louis and Alejandro gave a talk at an event held at the Universidad Amazónica de Pando based in Cobija to share their experiences about Terra-i as well as the preliminary results of the training workshop.

The team holding the first Terra-i certificates ever delivered. From left to right: Irwin Borda, Ohmar Gonzales, Jaqueline Jaimes, Marco Condarco, Beymar Villarroel, Jhovana Aricagua, Alejandro Coca and Louis Reymondin.

For the first time since the Terra-i project started, a great initiative has been developed between CIAT researchers and governmental institutions to strengthen their national forest monitoring systems. Now, two researchers from CIAT have travelled to the Bolivian National System of Monitoring and Information installations in Cochabamba to train the local team in the use of the Terra-i system. After five days of rewarding work, the strengths and weaknesses of the tool were identified and a schedule was established for 2013 for the eventual incorporation of Terra-i into the official national monitoring system.

Technicians from the Bolivian National System of Monitoring and Information (SNIB) getting hands-on experience with the Terra-i tool.

In a second phase of their trip, both scientists headed to Cobija, located in the Pando department of Bolivia. There, they attended an event organized by the Universidad Amazónica de Pando, where a great and constructive talk took place about the opportunities and advantages that Terra-i offers. Participants at the event concluded that the opinions and data of researchers in the field, local experts and previous studies developed at the University should all be taken into account to fine-tune Terra-i’s calibration. There are great opportunities for collaboration between the University and CIAT, and the two institutions are now in contact to plan the implementation of Terra-i in their facilities and the training of the local academics with the support of SNIB experts.

Closure of the event held at the Universidad Amazónica de Pando. From left to right, Alejandro Coca (CIAT), Louis Reymondin (CIAT), Msc. Ing. Ludwing Reynaldo Arciénega Baptista (Rector of the Universidad Amazónica de Pando), Marco Antonio Condarco Iglesias (Bolivian National System of Monitoring and Information - SNIB).

Finally, the Terra-i team wishes to kindly thank Wilson Rocha and the Nature Conservancy for their support, Beymar Villarroel and all the members of the Bolivian National System of Monitoring and Information for their hard work and the Universidad Amazónica de Pando for their warm welcome.

The article was authored by Louis Reymondin and Alejandro Coca

The Terra-i team wishes for all a happy and successful conclusion to the year 2012! A considerable set of innovations and new products to improve the tool will be delivered during the year 2013. Follow us on the website and project facebook page.

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