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 Thursday, January 17, 2013
Information and communication technologies are fostering collaborative ways to protect and monitor biodiversity in the region.

One of such tools is the International Platform on Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF, for its acronym in English), a web-based system that allows free access to information on global biodiversity and involving nearly 60 countries, including Argentina, Chile , Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Uruguay. Brazil joined last October 30.

According to the World Bank, the region is leading the conservation with 20 percent of its territory protected, while the average for developing countries is 13 percent.

Ecosystems Specialists agree that progress in this area may depend on the successful use of ICT.

"A major challenge is to understand our biodiversity. And the use of ICT helps us to know how it is and, above all, to spread this knowledge among scientists, decision makers and the general public "then translate into strategies for protection and prevention, said Maria Isabel Cruz, National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) in Mexico.

An example is the Early Warning of hot spots, from Conabio, which records and analyzes the surface temperature via satellite images. The system identifies anomalies, published on the web and sends the information to decision makers who evaluate the site and can prevent fires and impacts on ecosystems. The system is operating in Mexico, Central America, Brazil and Argentina.

(Source: SciDev)