[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 25-Mar-2011
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Contact: Elizabeth Braun
ebraun@whrc.org
508-444-1509
Woods Hole Research Center

Participatory mapping workshops underway in Congo

Woods Hole Research Center scientists leading collaborations

Many of the mapping and monitoring efforts associated with REDD focus on the big picture of carbon stock and of deforestation trends throughout the tropics. A research expedition just underway, led by scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center, is focusing on the third piece necessary to inform a global REDD mechanism – namely, how do people use the land? Through a series of participatory mapping workshops with indigenous peoples in the Congo Basin, scientists and participants are discussing land tenure, forest inventory techniques, and baselines that could help secure lands for local populations. Outcomes will include training in the use of GPS for mapping and a report from interviews done in the field.

Nadine Laporte, Glenn Bush, and Scott Goetz are scientists at WHRC and are leading this effort. Their itinerary began in Kinshasa, on March 14, and continues to Gemena, Bikoro, and Mbandaka. The trip concludes on April 1.

This expedition is part of the capacity building component of a three-year grant to the Center from The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, google.org, and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Glenn K. Bush, Ph.D., is an environmental economist who specializes in welfare economics, resource valuation, and environmental cost-benefit analysis. His work has focused on quantitative valuation of forest conservation strategies for forest-adjacent households, as well as the microeconomic and social determinants of forest conservation. He is currently concerned with developing and testing combined econometric and spatial models on the drivers and determinants of land cover change. Dr. Bush has previously worked in Africa and in Central and Southeast Asia as a researcher, project manager, and consultant on natural resource management and conservation projects in the public and private sector. He has held positions with the UK Government Department for International Development, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. He obtained his M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of London, Wye College, and his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Stirling, UK.

Scott Goetz, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center and works on the application of satellite imagery to analyses of environmental change, including monitoring and modeling links between land use change, forest productivity, biodiversity, climate, and human health. Before joining the WHRC, he was on the faculty at the University of Maryland, where he maintains an adjunct associate professor appointment, and was a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and recently completed a Fulbright-sponsored visiting scientist appointment in Toulouse, France.

Nadine T. Laporte, Ph.D., is a biologist whose research centers on the applications of satellite imagery to tropical forest ecosystems, including vegetation & carbon mapping, land-use change, deforestation causes and consequences on carbon and biodiversity. She has been involved in numerous environmental projects in Central Africa over the past ten years, working with in-country scientists, foresters, and international conservation organizations to develop integrated forest monitoring systems and promote forest conservation. She received her doctorate in tropical biogeography from l'Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France.

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The team is chronicling their expedition in a Field Notes Journal, with near-daily updates. For more information, please visit www.whrc.org/education/capacitybldg.html

The Woods Hole Research Center addresses the great issues for a healthy planet through science, education, and policy. Center staff combine remote sensing with field research to study, model, map and monitor Earth's land surface, and advance the knowledge gained to define solutions for sustainable well being. Current core areas for the Center include climate change, land use, and water.



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