Biological resources or biodiversity are crucial for the development of poor countries in the tropics. Native plants and animals are particularly important to peasant and indigenous populations in rural areas; these people often depend directly on harvesting local species for their daily needs such as energy (fire-wood), food, medicine, and construction material. Peasants and indigenous groups are often the first to suffer from environmental degradation such as deforestation that may have extensive negative impacts. Sustainable management of biological resources may therefore contribute significantly to economic development and improved livelihoods for rural people, but currently the biodiversity of poor tropical countries are often under severe stress or even in danger of irreplaceable loss. This situation partly reflects complex, interacting economic, political and socio-economic factors, but lack of basic knowledge and lack of access to existing knowledge may be the most serious impediment to sustainable resource use and management. Most tropical plants and animals and their interactions with the environment are poorly known, and in many cases their actual and potential economic values and potential management have not been evaluated. Many developing countries suffer from poor access to existing printed and electronic information concerning their own biodiversity resources. These countries have poor contacts to the international scientific community and they have few trained people who can interpret and evaluate information. Finally, their facilities to generate new knowledge are often poorly developed, and it is therefore difficult to promote a development that takes advantage of existing knowledge.
overall objective af this
project is to facilitate that local flora and fauna may persist and support
economic development and the well-being in
research that is needed to take advantage of the two countries’ biodiversity
began only decades ago. The biodiversity of
The project is built around research concerning economically important species, and it produces inventories of useful species, and studies of their potential for exploitation and sustainable management, as well as their ecology, variation and distribution. A part of this research is to provide expertise in natural substance chemistry enabling scientists from the two countries to use the economic potential of their biodiversity in a sustainable way. A transversal priority is to ensure Bolivia and Ecuador access to international printed and electronic biodiversity information, particularly linking the participating institutions with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF; www.gbif.org) and the Andinonet initiative recently established in the region, as well as to the Regional Strategy of Biodiversity Conservation. Computer equipment and networking is updated, and staff and students are trained in using databases and other modern IT technology in research concerning biodiversity and natural resources management. The project intends to demonstrate that developing countries can participate in and benefit from global networking projects such as the GBIF-initiative, Andinonet, and the projects’ ambition is to serve as a model for an equal and active collaboration between industrialized and developing countries in biodiversity research and informatics.
This project intends to improve the participating institutions capacity to produce and capture relevant biodiversity related information, process it and make it available to a broad range of users in the private and public sector.
The intended users include local communities of peasants and indigenous people who wish to use plant and animal species of their surroundings in a sustainable way, government authorities who protect and manage of natural biological resources, local industries that produce plant or animal-derived products such as human or veterinary medicines, local NGO’s who carry out community projects with biodiversity components, forestry projects that need exact identification of their tree species to access biological information, etc.
The trained biodiversity workers and researchers will be intermediaries between those who use and those who produce and manage biodiversity information.
The expected long term outcome is that the involved institutions will have the capacity to contribute to a wiser use of their countries' biological resources and that these resources will be protected from destruction and made available to poor rural populations as well as industries that contribute to the economic development of the countries.
Results will be disseminated via the national and international journals, conference presentations, lectures, workshops, etc. Because traditional biodiversity documentation is often difficult to use by non-specialists or even for professionals from related disciplines (e.g., botanical identification work for zoologists or vice versa), this project will emphasize user-friendly documentation of biodiversity, such as publicly accessible internet based web-pages photo-recording the identification characteristics of particular groups of plants and animals, as well as relevant information concerning uses, management, etc. The project will initially elaborate documentation related to economically important species, but it is envisioned that eventually other parts of the native flora and much of the fauna may be included.
Organisation and financial management
The project is managed principally by the Danish Research Institution, at the
A Steering Committee oversees the project, review yearly plans for upcoming activities and yearly reports of past activities for each of the involved institutions. The Steering Committee reports its approval of, or concerns about, these plans and reports to the project director, professor Henrik Balslev, who is responsible to the funding agency, Danida.