Museo Historia Natural Noel Kempff Mercado (2013)

Geospatial Center for Biodiversity - Bolivia

Project Details

Grant Amount: $189,970
Contact: Kathia Rivero
Contact Email: krivero 'atsign'
Funding Dates: 12/15/13 - 6/30/16

For information on the prior phase of this project, click here.

BackgroundMHNNKM logo

Museo Historia Natural Noel Kempff Mercado (MHNNKM) aims to conduct basic and applied biodiversity conservation research, train university students and local stakeholders, disseminate biodiversity knowledge to the local and regional education system and the public, and build capacities with local and national organizations. In the first phase of this project the Zoology and Geography teams, in partnership with Cranfield University, delivered the Geospatial Center for Biodiversity (GCB) by increasing local capabilities in large data management and webGIS. The GCB launched in April 2013 and is a novel online, open access system for the distribution of more than 80,000 vertebrate records from Bolivia to the world with a significant impact nationally and in the region. Building on the strong foundation of the GCB, a major goal for the second phase of funding is to advance and implement a national strategy and distribution database that includes the major taxonomic groups: vertebrates, invertebrates and flora for Bolivia and Paraguay. Guyra Paraguay leads, promotes and coordinates conservation actions for sustainable use of biodiversity through public advocacy, research, awareness, and community participation. Guyra holds the largest biodiversity database in Paraguay and their GIS team will implement the webGIS platforms guided GCB.

Key Objectives

The specific objectives for the project are to:

  • increase the vertebrate database and the spatial coverage to a national level;
  • develop and deliver Geo-flora and Geo-invertebrates for Bolivia; and
  • transfer the three systems to Paraguay to start GCB-Paraguay.

 Planned Outputs

  • Significantly increase the vertebrate database and the spatial coverage of the GCB by working in partnership with several other Bolivian institutions to include their vertebrate databases, hence contributing an additional 75,000 records.
  • Build on the GCB model to develop and deliver Geo-flora (approximately 60,000 records) and Geo-invertebrates (approximately 100,000 records) with Herbario Nacional de Bolivia and CBG to implement these systems at the national level.
  • Transfer the three systems (Geo-vertebrates; Geo-invertebrates; Geo- flora) to Paraguay, creating the Paraguayan webGIS interface for the Paraguay GCB (approximately 50,000 records).
  • A series of workshops will be organized in Bolivia and Paraguay to establish a consensus on data distribution, data availability and data ownership to meet partners’ expectations and the objectives of the project.
  • The team will develop “Geo-Chaco”, which will integrate the information from both countries into Eco region specific webGIS and complement current conservation efforts for the Chacoan Region of South America.

Planned Outcomes

  • The project will significantly advance the visibility of the conservation agenda in both Bolivia and Paraguay.
  • Through the GCB, biodiversity data will be widely available to key organizations, decision makers and environmental managers working to implement on-the-ground conservation management in Bolivia.
  • The availability of biodiversity information and the development of the GCB partnership will allow further collaboration and better coordination for the development of projects and generation of human and economic resources to increase the visibility of the conservation agenda in the region. This should lead to a more efficient conservation strategy not only in Bolivia, but also in the region.
  • Improve the coordination amongst organizations to promote more efficient conservation program in Bolivia and regionally.  The new partnership, with CGB-UMSS, LPB, Bolivian and Paraguayan foundations and NGOs, will significantly move forward these long-term objectives by increasing the visibility of the conservation agenda through the GCB project. The outputs generated via thesis, articles, conferences and presentations will further promote new collaboration, partnerships and projects to address wider conservation issues.

Results to Date

The new portions of the GCB portal, The Geo-Flora and Geo-Invertebrates, are finalized and awaiting upload of approximately 70,000 formatted records. Partner organizations were very involved in developing and testing the data-entry portal, such that it is anticipated that data publication will progress rapidly.

Lessons Learned

Data uploads have been somewhat delayed by logistics with disseminating funds to partners. However, this obstacle has been overcome and now work can proceed. The team used the time afforded by the delay to  conduct outreach regarding the GCB portal and test data entry workflows. Publicizing the portal resulted in a 20% increase in visitors to the site in 2015 over the previous year, and an increase in the number of scientists registered as data contributors.

Related Publications

Fernández M, LM Navarro, A Apaza-Quevedo, et al. (2015) Challenges and opportunities for the Bolivian Biodiversity Observation Network. Biodiversity. 16(2-3): 86-98. DOI: 10.1080/14888386.2015.1068710 (link)

Last Updated: February 28th, 2017

Notes from JRS

Like some other JRS projects in Latin America, the GCB project has run into a bureaucratic roadblock for almost all of 2016 as Bolivia has changed rules that now limit the autonomy of institutions to spend international funds.  This is of particularly damage to the project as the progress on the technical sides and with partner institutions had been gaining momentum.  We remain hopeful that the project will resume and continue its succes.

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