|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||17 Nov 2014|
We are working with smallholder farmers in the Loreto Department, in the far north-east Peruvian Amazon to restore deforested lands. The biggest driver of deforestation in this part of the Amazon has been smallholder agricultural expansion. Through my work and this project I hope to make a contribution to the conservation of the rainforest and reduce the rate of deforestation in the Napo Moist Forests of Peru which is recognised as a global Ecoregion (WWF, 2014). Our project falls in the buffer zone of the Allpahuayo_Mishana National Reserve which has two notable types of precious habitat: “varillales” and “flooded” forests. The first is a forest which develops on white sand and composes a special ecosystem with high diversity of soils and different drainage conditions. The second is composed of forests flooded by the black waters of the river Nanay which harbours species with a very restricted range. Our work hopes to contribute to the restoration of the buffer zone and reduced pressure on the National Park.
Our project involves piloting a monitoring system, using mobile electronic devices, to systematically record observations of young native trees planted through our project in 4 villages on farms managed by subsistence farmers. We will assess tree growth and health, and evaluate against other site factors to create a digital monitoring tool. Collecting monitoring data on tree health and growth of native reforestation systems is critical to develop best practise management prescriptions. We will trial the use of electronic mobile devices to improve efficiencies in field monitoring. We will use smartphone software, to log visits from our staff to visit farms to collect GPS-linked photographs showing progress in growth of different species, and collect information on key variables (e.g. presence or absence of pests on particular tree and crop species, pest control measurements applied, tree growth rates and health). We will trial automatic upload of raw data from the mobile device to a shared ‘cloud’ workspace accessible to colleagues in Peru and the UK using just an internet connection and set up a secure data backup storage system. I will be running workshops locally in Peru with local researchers and subsistence farmers to socialise the project and collect information on recommended parameters to measure.
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