Terra-i 2014 review
Blog post by Louis Reymondin
In 2014 Terra-i website registered 15441 visits and 46122 individual pages were viewed. Our users were mainly located in Colombia and the US. All of these users are key to making Terra-i an integral tool for better decision making on crucial issues such as deforestation and loss of natural habitats in Latin America and, soon, the rest of the tropics.
Examples of uses and new collaborations
Since Terra-i Peru was officially launched in April 2014, it has been applied as an early warning system for land cover and land-use change in Peru. The collaborative framework agreement signed between the International Center of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Peruvian Ministry of Environment (MINAM), implemented the new early warning system successfully, producing as a result the third monthly update. Outcomes and dissemination by the MINAM representative team in Peru (The General Directorate for Territorial Planning – DGOT) and the Terra-i/CIAT team have been relevant for the continuity of this initiative which has the following objectives for the remaining semester of 2015: 1) to reduce the time of detection and update of changes, 2) to validate and quantify the accuracy of the detections; and 3) to ensure the use of the tool, in decision-making in land-conversion dynamics.
Terra-i in Global Forest Watch
Terra-i currently covers all of Latin America and will be expanded over the next year to cover the entire tropics. As of December 2014, Terra-i is a core partner in Global Forest Watch (GFW), which is convened by the World Resources Institute (WRI), and contributes its data on forest changes to this worldwide initiative.
According to WRI, Terra-i is a pivotal addition to the GFW platform. It enables users to put tree cover loss alerts into context with data on relevant forest cover, communities and biodiversity for an increased understanding of where – and why – forests are disappearing.
CartoChaco is the result of a partnership between Guyra/Paraguay, InfoAmazonia and Terra-i/CIAT, and was created to raise awareness of the threats to natural habitats in this rich bioregion. The platform uses multiple geo-technologies and provides easy access to relevant events and research carried in the Chaco, especially in the form of user-friendly thematic maps and visualizations of data (using MapBox), monthly reports of natural vegetation changes provided by Guyra and Terra-i, as well as geo-tagged new stories.
The launch took place at the United Nations offices in Asuncion, Paraguay and was attended by the Minister of Environment of Paraguay, Ms. Maria Cristina Morales Palarea, Paraguayan Senator, Fernando Silva Facetti, and the Executive Director of Guyra, Alberto Yanoski. The launch also counted with the participation of representatives from various organizations such as UNDP, IDB, itaú Foundation, the Environment Secretary, Comptroller General of the Republic, INFONA, Attorney General, WWF, WCS, PNUMA-ONU REDD, FACEN-UNA, Public Ministry, Avina, Institute of Development, among others.
Outstanding publication based on Terra-i data
One of the gratifying outcomes of giving your data away for others to use, as we do at http://www.terra-i.org, is that people with very different disciplinary expertise to you put your data together with other datasets and use it in ways that you would never have considered yourself. Such is the case with a paper published in Science January 2014: Drug Policy as Conservation Policy: Narco-Deforestation, in which a team led by Kendra McSweeney used Terra-i deforestation data to show the relationship between drug trafficking and deforestation in eastern Honduras.
Terra-i users’ areas of interest
A snapshot of the areas in which the tool had been applied by users is given in Figure 5. Terra-i statistical data have been downloaded about 13000 times, largely in Colombia, Brazil, Peru and Paraguay.
When analysed at a local scale, one can see that the hotspots of queries in Latin America, as shown in Figure 6, are located in Antioquia, Caquetá and Amazonas in Colombia, and Madre de Dios in Peru. Furthermore, one can see that most of the queries are clustered in the non-Brazilian Amazon and the Gran Chaco.
Furthermore, the ecosystems that have the most been consulted by users are, by far, the Dry Chaco in Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina, the Cerrado and Bahia coastal forests in Brazil and the Caquetá Moist forests and Llanos in Colombia. The protected areas that summed the most requests are Jamari and Itacaiunas located in Brazil, Yasuní in Ecuador, Defensores del Chaco in Paraguay and El Tuparro in Colombia. Finally, the most-searched indigenous areas in 2014 were Xikrin do Rio Catete, Parakanã and Córrego João Pereira in Brazil together with Agua Negra and Rio Pangui in Colombia.
2014 has also been a year of changes for our team. Alejandro Coca is now gone to pursue his studies at King’s College London (UK). Alejandro started to work in our team in April 2011 when he started a 6 months internship at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. Given the excellent work and very positive attitude Alejandro demonstrated during his internship, we decided to hire him as a full time research assistant in January 2012. He has been working with us since then on very complex tasks such as geospatial analysis, design and implementation of field work projects and communicating results through short articles, technical reports and conferences.
Since Alejandro became part of our team he has quickly grown into a key component of all the projects he works on. Over the years he has demonstrated a real talent in networking and communication which frequently lead to new collaboration opportunities and projects. Such skills, together with a great sense of self-initiative, encouraged us to give him more responsibilities for our team. Alejandro has proven that he deserved such responsibilities and successfully led various projects which included tasks such as geospatial analysis, design and implementation of field work projects, project and budget management and small team leading. For instance, he very successfully led a project of field validation of our state of the art, near real time, land cover and land-use change monitoring system. This involved him coordinating a team expedition to the Peruvian Amazon in the region of Ucayali during three weeks, where he visited deforested sites to ground-truth the outputs of our virtual tool. Alejandro has always been ready to volunteer to get involved in projects and to help in other projects outside of his responsibilities. He is always looking for new opportunities and he is very attentive to the ideas of other team members.
We would like to introduce our new team member Oscar Bautista. Oscar is an Agricultural Engineer from National University of Colombia graduated in 2012.
Since then he has worked as consultant in different Conservation projects, supporting eco-hydrological modeling and mapping, taking part in identifying pressure and threats to ecosystems and evaluating land use change and forest loss impacts on ecosystem services. At the present time, he serves as research assistant in the Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) group of CIAT and he is part of the team responsible for the download, generation and processing of data to keep terra-i up to date. Oscar first results as Terra-i team member was the redaction of the following post http://terra-i.org/terra-i/news/10-years-of-habitat-loss-in-the-Amazon-Caqueta.html
Finally, 2014 was also the year when Louis Reymondin, Terra-i main developer, suit up!
Terra-i team wishes all its users, partners and donors a successful 2015.