Maria Eugenia Periago contacted us to generate a video showing vegetation loss in the Gran Chaco region between 2004 and 2012. Maria Eugenia has a BSc in Environmental Science and Policy, MSc in Wildlife Management and is currently fourth year PhD Student at the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba in Argentina To introduce this new video, we asked her to tell us a bit more about the Gran Chaco and her research.
Grey Brocket Deer (Mazama gouazoubira)
source: Dario Podesta
The Gran Chaco is one of the major open savannah woodland ecosystems in the world. Accelerated changes in land use have resulted in a complex mosaic of ecosystems with varying capabilities for sustaining wildlife. Furthermore, hunting and habitat loss increasingly threaten the functional diversity of mammals. We are fast approaching a time where defaunation and deforestation are commonly accepted consequences of human sprawl and are already beginning to talk about reforestation and refaunation. Many studies have focused on tropical systems; however, this great South American savannah is often ignored at an international level.
Collared Peccary (Pecari tajacu)
My research focuses on assessing the potential consequences of chacoan mammal loss on ecosystem functioning, particularly on the role played by large and medium-sized herbivorous and frugivorous native mammals of the Argentine Chaco, such as Grey Brocket Deer (Mazama gouazoubira), Collared Peccary (Pecari tajacu) and Grey Fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus). Our preliminary results show that there is an important void in information regarding the population status of these native mammals in the Chaco, as well as the functional roles they play in the ecosystem and a lack of studies examining the consequences of their potential loss on the system. Concerned with the major changes taking place in this subtropical region due to significant and rapid habitat transformations, we urge the importance of considering ecological functionality in future restoration and conservation efforts in the Gran Chaco.
This article was authored by Maria E Periago, Ricardo A. Ojeda and Sandra M. Diaz. Terra-i team is grateful to Maria for sharing the details of her work.
From May 8-12, 2017, the Terra-i team, together with staff from the DGOTA of Peru's Ministry of Environment, carried out the first field validation of vegetative land cover changes detected during Terra-i monitoring for 2016 and 2017, using the technology UAV. This work was carried out under the framework of the project “Sustainable Amazonian Landscapes”. The team carried out over-flights with a Phantom 3 advanced rotor drone and a fixed-wing Ebee drone in seven townships of Yurimaguas. The objective of this work was to recognize the dynamics of land cover and land use changes in the region while at the same time to validate the accuracy of the detections of forest loss being monitored by Terra-i in Yurimaguas.
The Terra-i team has worked hard on renovating Terra-i’s website since early this year. A set of new features on the website provides interactive contents and facilitates adaptation to the mobile devices of our users. The fresh website was developed using the latest update of an open-source, Java-based web system, Magnolia CMS 5.4.4. This update was customized to add different categories of interaction such as news, vegetation cover changes, and information, among others.
Globally more than 1 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. Forests play a crucial role in climate regulation, ecosystem services provision and regulation, water supply, carbon storage and many other functions that support biodiversity. Currently the global rate of deforestation is substantial, and there is a growing need for timely, spatially explicit data that flag natural vegetation changes due to human activities.
The latest update of Terra-i has been used with the Co$ting Nature ecosystem services assessment tool to understand the impacts of recent forest loss in Colombia on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
During the 1st and 12th of June 2015, the Terra-i team, together with the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP) and the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (VLIR-UNALM), conducted the second field validation of the data produced by the Terra-I system. This time, the study area was the Yurimaguas district, Alto Amazonas province, Loreto region (Peru). We used information on populated places, main roads, rivers and information on land cover changes detected for 2013, 2014 and 2015 to define the 65 sampling points (or Terra-I pixels) for the validation process (Figure 1).