Project title Connecting the Dots: Building Capacity Across the Life-Cycle of Biodiversity Observations in the Tropical Andes 
Implementing Institutions 1) Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, (Leipzig, Germany)
2) Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, (Bogotá, Colombia)
3) Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, (La Paz, Bolivia)
4) PROVITA, (Caracas, Venezuela)
Country(ies) Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela
Abstract We will support the Tropical Andes region in developing technical capacity on biodiversity data collection, management & interpretation; opening pathways & mechanisms to make this data freely accessible. We will promote the establishment of a functional & dynamic regional network for biodiversity observatories by leveraging existing regional technical & scientific capacity. This project will promote communication & dynamic exchange of experiences & skills, that will result in the critical mass required to produce a constant flow of harmonized information that can feed the IPBES Assessments. 
Project Description Today there is a plethora of local initiatives devoted to collect information on biodiversity, ecosystem services & traditional knowledge. However, integration initiatives find that local data is often inaccessible, highly disconnected, & lacks ontological alignment. The key question in this project is how to integrate all these pieces of information into a framework that can help us understand how the biosphere is changing & how these changes impact human activities. The Tropical Andes Biodiversity hotspot has some technical capacity for biodiversity monitoring, however, this capacity is neither coordinated nor evenly distributed across the region, and it doesn’t reach all critical actors. As a response to this challenge we will implement a series of capacity building activities (e.g., workshops, webinars & guidelines); aimed to form a coordinated network of current & future biodiversity scientists and people active in the assessment of biodiversity & ecosystem services in the region. We will develop a globally applicable manual on how to link different kinds of biodiversity information to open access data portals. Using participatory science & GEO BON technological infrastructure we will brake existing barriers & improve local capacity not only on traditional aspects related to collection, systematization & management of biodiversity data, but also in the least common but arguably more important aspect related to integration, application and interpretation of this information towards fulfilling national & international commitments such as the IPBES Assessments. 
Project Objectives and expected Achievables The objective of this project is to build the foundations of a sound biodiversity and ecosystem services network of observatories in the Tropical Andes. We will invest in harmonizing the methodological standards for data collection and pathways for data flows and data publishing to optimally support IPBES experts of regional assessments. We will promote the streamlined discussions that will lead to consensus, collaboration, and interoperability of a regional network of biodiversity observatories. Also, the alignment and consensus regarding guidelines, methods and data standards encouraging free and open access to the data will warrant transparency and replicability in the process of developing national and regional biodiversity indicators and assessments. In particular, we will:

1) Use different channels of the partner organizations to disseminate the concept and the results of the process including traditional and non-traditional media.

2) Produce a workshop, a manual (in Spanish and English) and two webinars on each of the following themes:

a. Application of citizen science to capture traditional ecological knowledge

b. Freshwater biodiversity monitoring methods including fish and fisheries

c. Capture & analysis of camera traps & bioacoustics data

d. Birds, bats and rodents surveys methods

e. Butterflies, moths and dung beetles surveys

3) Produce two webinars on each theme:

a. Standards and pathways in biodiversity data integration

b. The benefits of making data open access

c. Your data in the context of global datasets: analysis, application and interpretation

d. Ecological forecasting and models

Milestone 1: Workshop on the Application of citizen science to capture traditional ecological knowledge in Month 6

Milestone 2: Authoritative manual on the Application of citizen science to capture traditional ecological knowledge in Month 12

Milestone 3: Workshop on Freshwater biodiversity monitoring methods including fish and fisheries in Month 12

Milestone 4: Authoritative manual on Freshwater biodiversity monitoring methods including fish and fisheries in Month 18

Milestone 5: Workshop on Capture & analysis of camera traps & bioacoustics data in Month 18

Milestone 6: Authoritative manual on Capture & analysis of camera traps & bioacoustics data in Month 24

Milestone 7: Workshop on Birds, bats and rodents surveys methods in Month 24

Milestone8: Authoritative manual on Birds, bats and rodents surveys methods in Month 30

Milestone 9: Workshop on Butterflies, moths and dung beetles surveys in Month 36

Milestone 10: Authoritative manual on Butterflies, moths and dung beetles surveys in Month 42

For each workshop, a manual with the results will be published online six month after the workshop. All manuals will be made online accessible and a small number will be printed as a booklet in month 42. The booklet a) provides a written record of the process in each workshop and that can serve as a guide to other initiatives, b) conveys clear guidelines and methods c) increases awareness of the potential that exists in data integration. Recorded webinars will be made archived and made available using the GEO BON infrastructure one week after the presentation.

Timeframe > 3 years
Geographic Scale Multinational
Seeking Resources for: Project development, Project implementation
Type of Resources/Support needed: Financial
Project relevance: 
Projects and activities of interest to IPBES and partners