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Global Ideas

Tapping wisdom of the crowd to count species

In the south of Brazil, scientists are developing a new monitoring programme, and are hoping to add the most important ingredient soon: ordinary people who will contribute with their own biodiversity observations.

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Project goal: protecting biodiversity, documenting the interplay between climate change and biodiversity

Implementation: monitoring biodiversity in protected areas. Preserving long-term, qualified information

Size: Three ecosystems (Amazon, Mata Atlantica, Cerrado)

Volume: The International Climate Initiative (IKI) is supporting the project with around four million Euros

Biodiversity: Brazil is home to around 20 percent of global biodiversity – the largest share worldwide

Where is the blue macaw found? How many Manelaus Blue Morphos, an iridescent tropical butterfly, are there in the world? And what’s the state of tropical trees? These are the kind of questions that the biodiversity monitoring system in Brazil’s Serra da Bodoquena National Park hopes to answer. The project is meant to inspire similar initiatives in other protected areas in Brazil. The country is home to some of the world’s highest concentrations of biodiversity. Yet, there’s little reliable data on the diversity of species though scientists have long suspected that climate change is contributing to their loss. Now, the country has rolled out a systematic monitoring program that the Brazilian environment ministry has worked on for years with German help. Ordinary citizens are set to contribute at some point. That allows not just scientists but also amateurs to gather important information. Soon a databank is to be made available that will provide reliable information on Brazil’s biodiversity. Our reporter Michael Wetzel joined the experiment in the Serra da Bodoquena National Park

A film by Michael Wetzel

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