Early warning system for nature and natural capital protection

November 18, 2014, Conservation International
TEAM Network camera trap photo on the HP iPAQ. Credit: Benjamin Drummond

Protected area managers need unbiased, current and geographically local information to effectively manage their protected areas.  Conservation International (CI) and the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network, in partnership with HP, have produced a first-of-its-kind monitoring system to give protected area managers and conservation decision makers data-driven insight into the status of wildlife in protected areas, enabling them to proactively respond to environmental threats as they emerge.

"Here in Sydney at the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress, conservation leaders are calling for innovative solutions to improve protected area management," said Dr. Jorge Ahumada, Executive Director of the TEAM Network at Conservation International.  "The TEAM Network solution allows us to measure what was once unmeasurable, bringing near real-time data to bear on analyzing tropical forest biodiversity."

The system provides evidence-based monitoring and analysis through rigorous science combined with robust data analytics.  Standardized protocols, sensors, computer hardware and software collect, manage, analyze and report on the trends and status of wildlife in . In addition, the system models and provides insight into what factors could be impacting trends.

The National Protected Area Service of Peru (SERNANP) is using data from the TEAM Network as a way to measure protected area effectiveness and levels of biodiversity. SERNANP is setting this as an example of how the government of Peru has been successful at protecting and conserving biodiversity by recognizing the high diversity of one of its parks, Manu National Park.

"We're pleased to see the uptake and interest by governments, which indicates the real value of this solution," said Gabi Zedlmayer, vice president and Chief Progress Officer, HP.  "Our partnership with Conservation International, called HP Earth Insights, uses big data analytics to help decision makers proactively identify and address as they emerge."

The TEAM Network's system also provides a cost-effective management solution for protected areas and the wildlife and ecosystem services they harbor.  This solution is ideal for helping protected areas achieve the World Commission on Protected Areas' (WCPA) objectives, meeting the Aichi Targets and mainstreaming protected areas as natural solutions to global challenges, such as species loss, climate change and land degradation.  In addition, stunning camera trap images captured by this system provide unique opportunities to engage the public to communicate and advocate the value of protected areas.

"A goal of the TEAM Network is to monitor animal species across the tropics so as to evaluate the trends in global biodiversity," said Dr. John Robinson, Executive Vice President of Conservation and Science of the Wildlife Conservation Society and IUCN Vice President.  "TEAM is a network by design, a collaboration of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Conservation International and the Smithsonian Institution. Because of its innovative design, the monitoring data can be used to determine the causes underlying biodiversity trends."

The World Parks Congress, which runs through November 19, brings together park rangers, conservation experts and government officials to share knowledge and innovation, setting the agenda for protected areas conservation for the decade to come.  Building on the theme "Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions", it presents and discusses original approaches for conservation and development, helping to address the gap in the and sustainable development agenda.

"I am keen to utilize and pilot the expertise of the TEAM Network in monitoring wildlife in key Kenyan parks," said Dr. Erustus Kanga, Kenya Wildlife Service Senior Assistant Director for Biodiversity.  "I can envision having one or two pilot parks where we can use this protocol as training centers for our wardens and scientific staff that are spread out over 54 protected areas in Kenya."

Explore further: Protected areas proven to protect biodiversity

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