Workshop on Project Monitoring and Reporting: Introduction to Geographic Methods using Open-Source Software

BluoVerda Deutschland e.V. and Weltweit e.V. in collaboration with the Institute of International Forestry and Forest Products of the TU Dresden are pleased to invite you to apply to the online workshop “Project Monitoring and Reporting: Introduction to Geographic Methods using Open-Source Software”.

Continue reading “Workshop on Project Monitoring and Reporting: Introduction to Geographic Methods using Open-Source Software”

The story of Guadalupe

The little armadillo that survives forest fires in Bolivia

By Marolyn Vidaurre

Dear readers, the following story is related to our previous post: https://bluoverda.home.blog/2020/03/09/4-1-million-hectares-of-forest-destroyed-by-fire-in-bolivia/

The forest fires that Bolivia experienced in 2019 are considered the largest natural disaster in the last ten years. The fire has consumed more than 5.3 million hectares of tropical forest in different regions of the country and has killed more than two million animals. With the best intentions to help, BluoVerda Deutschland e.V. organized local activities in Dresden, Germany to collect donations and support CIWY, who along with other organizations rescued and cared for the wildlife affected by fires.

Thanks to the support of family, friends, and colleagues, a donation of EUR 200 was made to CIWY in October of the same year. Additional funds from Zampoorna Yoga Zentrum (EUR 250) were also canalized through BluoVerda to CIWY to reduce the transactional costs and achieve a greater impact. This donation was meant to the care of two animals rescued from the forest fires of the Chiquitanía, in Santa Cruz, a 7-band armadillo (Euphractus sexcinctus) and a common possum (Didelphis marsupialis). Both animals were transferred to the Ambue Ari Center, a wildlife sanctuary owned and managed exclusively by CIWY, where they received all the necessary care. The money collected was used for food (vegetables, fruits, eggs, and cat food) and medical supplies (serum, bandage, vitamin K, omega supplements, and antibiotics) of both animals.

Nena (Tania) Baltazar Lugones President of CIWY tells us the story of Guadalupe …

Guadalupe is a small 7-banded armadillo (Euphractus sexcinctus) that now lives in the Ambue Ari Center. She is one of the few survivors of one of the most terrifying events in recent years, the forest fires. Thousands of animals died from the flames of fire and many others due to lack of water and food, very few managed to be rescued and helped. A group of veterinarians and volunteers from CIWY moved to the temporary shelter of San Ignacio de Velasco in Santa Cruz, to provide support in wildlife rescue activities from the fires. Thus, in October of the same year, two individuals from the San Ignacio temporary shelter, a 7-band armadillo (Euphractus sexcinctus) and a common possum (Didelphis marsupialis) entered the Ambue Ari Center.

7 banded armadillo (Euphractus sexcinctus)
Source: CIWY © All rights reserved
Common possum (Didelphis marsupialis)
Source: CIWY © All rights reserved

A local family found the armadillo alone and scared, running away from the fire. Seeing that she was in poor condition, dehydrated and very weak, they took her to the shelter where she was immediately attended by veterinarians who after much care managed to stabilize her. The next day a common possum arrived. She had burn wounds on her legs; she was very delicate and could hardly move. Once stabilized, both animals were transferred to the Ambue Ari Center, where both were under observation and intensive care in the medical station.

Guadalupe the 7 banded armadillo eating at the medical station
Source: CIWY © All rights reserved
The common possum recovering at the medical station
Source: CIWY © All rights reserved

Unfortunately, a few weeks later, the common possum died of damage and multi-organ failure. The armadillo recovered successfully, thanks to the care and attention of the veterinarians who baptized it with the name of Guadalupe. It is currently in a wide area with the necessary environmental conditions. It has been observed to perform activities characteristic of its species, such as digging tunnels and hiding for long periods of time. Her recovery improves with the days and she is adapting to her new home in our center, which makes everyone happy.

Next steps…

With this little action, we were able to save Guadalupe’s life. However, there are many other animals out there that need our help. Forest fires, the destruction of habitat, and the latent threat of illegal traffic are putting in danger our wildlife, especially the survival of several emblematic species such as jaguars and pumas, along with toucans, macaws, and small mammals. Despite the efforts made by CIWY to provide wildlife a second chance to survive, the lack of environmental awareness and the increase of unregulated, unmanaged and not monitored chaqueos practices is driving towards a fast loss of the forest and its biodiversity in the Amazon region where the forest is gradually decreasing in size, threatening all species. The new alliance between BluoVerda Deutschland e.V and Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) targets an education program for young people and children with the objective of increasing environmental awareness of biodiversity conservation, emphasizing wildlife, and the need of sustainable agricultural practices in harmony with the nature in the region. 

“We are very happy to have started this collaborative relationship with BluoVerda, with whom we share the same objectives of conserving and educating in favor of our biodiversity. Our next project is to be able to count on their support to carry out environmental education projects. It is so necessary to raise awareness in the populations surrounding our three Shrines about wildlife trafficking and the importance of each living being. Every day wild animals are snatched from the jungle, out of ten trafficked animals, only one manages to survive. These data are very alarming and we need our actions to generate changes in favor of wildlife. We trust that, by contributing our grain of sand, together CIWY and BluoVerda we can raise awareness in favor of life and our planet” (Nena Baltazar President CIWY).

Source: CIWY © All rights reserved
Source: CIWY © All rights reserved

4.1 million hectares of forest destroyed by fire in Bolivia…

…and this extension is similar to the size of Switzerland!

Dear Readers,

This great text was written by Marolyn Vidaurre in October 2019, and we have published it at our website. As we have a blog now, we decided to publish it again, since in a few days a new post will be published with some updates =)

By Marolyn Vidaurre

More than 40 days after the forest fires began, a loss of 4.1 million hectares is estimated throughout the national territory. The department of Santa Cruz concentrates 71 percent of the total areas affected by fires nationwide and Chiquitania is the most affected region with more than 2,440,000 hectares burned. Additionally, there have been fires in 20 of the 22 protected areas in the country. Although it has been possible to control the fire in some sectors, strong winds and high temperatures are causing the flames to advance at 1,000 meters per day in a curtain greater than 45 kilometers.

Photo CIWY 2019

Start of the forest fire

There are several factors that have favored the massive spread of fires. The first is related to the high temperatures recorded this year, together with the prolonged dry season and water deficit greater than six months throughout the region. The second is due to the practices of chaqueo that are carried out every year at this time, the chaqueos are fire caused by farmers that prepare the land for agriculture and for raising cattle. This year, the chaqueos have generated fires that have gone out of control due to extreme heat and drought conditions. Additionally, the controversial Supreme Decree 26075 approved by the State on July 9, which promotes the expansion of the agricultural frontier and allows “controlled burning” in areas of forest use, has triggered an unprecedented situation giving rise to a high number of chaqueos.

Impact on the communities

There are more than 33 surrounding communities that are in emergency, eight of which are in a critical situation. Amid the smoke and extreme heat conditions, families do not have water to drink; the little water that comes to them is full of ashes. Digestive problems, infections, cough and conjunctivitis have been reported. There are no activities, and school work has been suspended. 4,472 affected families are estimated according to Civil Defense report as of September 5, 2019.

Biodiversity Impact

The region affected by forest fires has a unique biodiversity. In general, more than 1,200 species of fauna, including 43 amphibians, 140 reptiles, 788 birds and 242 mammals are suffering the consequences of this disaster. The College of Biologists of La Paz established that in the Chiquitanía there are 3,500 species of plants, 200 of them are endemic and 554 species of fauna of which 35 species are endemic. Experts point out that the damage caused to biodiversity is irreversible, the forest will take 200 years to recover. The advance of fire is generating air, water and soil pollution, as well as species extinction.

Actions

In an interview with Tania (Nena) Baltazar, President and co-founder of the Inty Wara Yassi Community (CIWY), she explains that the scenario that is being lived in Bolivia is sad and bleak, there are more than 2 million hectares that are burning, and the fire is leaving ashes in its path. The impact on biodiversity is irreparable, many species have been affected. CIWY, like many other Bolivian organizations, have joined the cause. CIWY volunteers are currently helping to put out the fire in Concepción and veterinarians are in the temporary shelter for wild animals affected by fires. However, very little is being found, barely 52 animals from 22 species have been rescued with life in critical condition and with severe burns, most are already dead. Those animals that have managed to escape from the fire do not have food or water for weeks, so their hope of survival is very low.

The Ambue Ari sanctuary has also suffered from fires, two years ago 400 hectares of forest have been lost due to the chaqueos of surrounding communities, now they are taking all the provisions to prevent the entry of fire, a fire path has been built, inspections are carried out daily at this time of year especially in the surrounding area. Their task is to protect not only wild animals rescued from illegal traffic but also many other animals that have taken refuge in the center because of deforestation and chaqueos.

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Watson Photo: CIWY 2020

What can you do?

The most important that you can do to support the well been of the families and the conservation of biodiversity in the Amazon is to be aware of your life style and levels of consumption with special attention of products that come from this region.

CIWY work is basically thanks of donations and volunteers that are coming from all over to support them, check for more information at: http://www.intiwarayassi.org/ and get in touch with us.

Katie Photo CIWY 2020

Happy New Year! Enjoy the fireworks!? Let’s have fun collecting garbage!

On the morning after New Year’s Eve celebration, many of the headlines in the newspapers may be related to the following question: what will the next decade bring us? Maybe a quite common thought for the first morning of the year. Something almost impossible to know in such a complex time. Maybe it would be easier to think about dreams, desires and hopes.  

Leaving the news and the futuristic questions behind, that morning I decided to go for a walk. Why not? I thought it could be actually a special morning, basically because after listening the bangs of last night produced by more than half an hour of fireworks in Dresden, I expected to have a calm morning in which most of those who were partying the night before would be sleeping. The streets would be alone and quiet and moreover, from the window I saw the sky was clear and blue. 

View of Dresden from Schuttberg or Halde 1

Close to the Heller settlement in Dresden, one of the largest allotment garden colonies in Germany, there is a hill called Schuttberg or Halde 1, actually Schuttberg is a German term for a mound made of rubble or out of a rubbish heap. The stockpile initially grew through the bomb debris of Dresden downtown, and a lot of rubbish and rubble were added later. From there is possible to have a panorama view of the iconic silhouette of the downtown and see part of the Dresdner Heide, the sand mine, and the Elbe valley up to the Ore Mountains. The view of the city from there were quite amazing, so it is not surprising that it is chosen by many as a point to observe fireworks, but also to use them. 

On the way to the hill, I could see a big amount of remains of gunpowder on the streets, however when going up the mountain, I saw a pile of garbage that was being accumulated by some children. Vincent and Moritz, two 10-year-old friends who were walking through the area with a wheelbarrow full of the remains of the party of the previous night. Basically, hundreds of fireworks that exploded the night before (some of them were even unburned) and also several bottles of liquor. Yes, I was excited to see them, I thought that after the morning reflections, there was actually hope! I was so excited that I would have liked to have another wheelbarrow. Even without one, my partner and I decided to join the work of collecting the remains of the previous night. Other people who were passing by and who saw the kids, congratulated them and told them that they were doing an incredible job, but none stopped to join the work.

Two friends during the first morning of 2020

Vincent and Moritz told us that it was not the first time they were doing this work, but the third time, and that in fact, they believed that the situation had improved. They said that the last time they did this activity it took them almost 2 days to collect the garbage from the new year´s eve, and this time, the perception was that there was less than previous years.

My partner and I wondered “if all this waste was in a hill of Dresden, how would the rest of the city look like?”.  And indeed, even a week later after the New Year’s celebration, some streets in Dresden were still covered by “fireworks garbage”.  We did not spend the entire afternoon collecting the waste at the Schuttberg, but the feeling was satisfactory. Somehow the questions I was asking myself that morning about what awaits us this decade, had a positive response. After all, it was a good start to the year. So why not encourage this type of activity? If these children had the initiative, why not do it too?  If it was fun to see the fireworks and explode them, it should be also part of the activity to have fun collecting garbage! 

Wheelbarrow full of the rests from the New year celebration

By Gabriela Huidobro

Photos: Martin Fink

Trends in Ecology, Conservation and Climate Change: Agroforestry Systems

The presence of trees in agricultural lands contributes to the maintenance of production under a variable climate, and protect crops against climate extreme occurrences (Pramova et al. 2012). The agroforestry system – which combines trees with crops and/or livestock – is therefore, being increasingly recognised as an effective approach for minimising production risks under climate variability and change (Verchot et al. 2008). Moreover, in agroforestry systems only a small percentage of plant biomass is harvested, most of it remains on the ground. Thus, agroforestry systems can offer significant carbon benefits to landscape management.

From an ecological point of view, when compared to conventional forestry systems, agroforestry offers a different land use option. Since trees and crops complement each other, this setup is ideal and available resources are effectively used. Agroforestry has environmental benefits (e.g. soil and water protection), and has also a landscape benefit, thereby promoting food security and income generation for landholders. The agroforestry system constantly generates revenue for the farmer, enabling the diversification of farm activity and a better use of environmental resources. It may include existing native trees, but also forests established by farmers. It is a flexible concept, involving both small and large-sized land holdings.

The benefits of Agroforestry systems:

> Creation of regional markets for agroforestry products and processing

> Enrichment and aesthetic enhancement of the landscape with positive effects on tourism and quality of life

> Development of sustainable agricultural structures

> Strengthening rural regions by promoting regional material cycles and regional value creation

> Sustainable energy supply

> Improved groundwater quality

In Brazil, agroforestry systems are still not broadly adopted, largely because of their level of complexity compared with traditional systems, and also due to the lack of understanding by farmers regarding their benefits (de Almeida et al. 2013). Although the government has allocated financial resources in terms of credit for development and for technology transfer addressing agroforestry systems, farmers continue to have difficulties mostly related to technical assistance and bureaucracy in accessing the financial credit lines. Within this context, the Carbon Neutral Program, an initiative from IDESAM, plays an important role on the promotion of alternative measures for the sustainable use of natural resources.      

The main focus consists of connecting civil society with sustainability in the Amazon. In this program, carbon emissions are translated into how many trees are needed to compensate for such emission. The activities to be ‘carboneutralized’ are mostly related to electricity consumption, travelling, accommodation, and land and/or river transportation. In 2010, IDESAM launched the program for enabling people, companies and initiatives to take responsibility for the impacts they generate on the planet, by offsetting their carbon emissions. The compensation is made through the recovery of degraded areas in Conservation Units in the state of Amazonas. Originally, the residents from such protected areas prepared their land by deforesting to plant. Nowadays, the Carbon Neutral Program takes agroforestry as an alternative to deforestation, and more and more families are becoming interested in implementing the system given the results obtained with the program. By 2019, the program has already planted more than 40,000 trees, representing more than 330,000 m2 of recovered forests and a compensation of 6,700 tons of CO2.

Photo: Richter, K. 2013

You and all of us can directly contribute to the program by offsetting our carbon emissions! For more detailed information, send an email to: bvd@bluoverda.org

References:

Pramova, E., Locatelli, B. Djoudi, H. And Somorin, O. 2012 Forests and Trees for Social Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change. Adavanced Review, v. 03, John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Verchot, L.V., Van Noordwijk, M., Kandji, S., Tomich, T., Ong, C., Albrecht, A., Mackensen, J., Bantilan, C., Anupama, K., Palm, C. 2008 Climate change: linking Adaptation and Mitigation through Agroforestry. Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change, v. 12, pp. 901-918.

de Almeida, R., de Andrade, C., Paciullo, D., Fernandes, P., Cavalcante, A., Barbosa, R., and do Valle, C. 2013 Brazilian agroforestry systems for cattle and sheep. Tropical Grasslands – Forrajes Tropicales, v.01, 175 pp.

Who we are?

We are BluoVerda, a newly founded organization consisting of motivated and committed environmental experts. BluoVerda focuses on a wide range of topics related to ecosystems, biodiversity and livelihoods. Our projects and initiatives mainly involve six key areas: climate, forests & wildlife, mountain ecosystem, marine & freshwater, food & farming (agriculture and fisheries) and sustainable cities. By linking these areas in an integrated approach, we can better direct our resources to maintaining, enhancing and recovering vulnerable landscapes, species and people in Latin America.

Much more detailed information can be found on our official website.

So… what is this blog all about? We have different ideas in mind how we can use this platform to publish and share all kinds of valuable information with anybody interested. On the one hand, we will definitely report about the projects which have been realized by our organization, for the sake of transparency, of course, so that our members or donors can see what we are doing. In addition, we also intend to contribute to the transfer of knowledge. Consequently, there will be many exciting articles, filled with background knowledge about our topics.
You may be curious, we certainly are. So, stay tuned, subscribe to our blog and look forward to many exciting stories from South America’s rainforests and other ecosystems.

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