New Paper Introduces a Coupled Approach to Monitoring Biodiversity Impact

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A new research paper titled ‘Coupling Remote Sensing and eDNA to Monitor Environmental Impact’ published in PLOS ONE lays out a coupled approach using remote sensing and environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis to monitor projects’ environmental impact. Led by a team of experts from Spatial Informatics Group (SIG) and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, the research was carried out in collaboration with the Instituto de Manejo e Certificação Florestal e Agrícola (IMAFLORA), and the University of Salford, under the Catalyzing and Learning through Private Sector Engagement for Biodiversity Conservation (CAL-PSE) program, a strategic partnership between USAID, Brazil, and the Alliance, with support from SERVIR Amazonia.

A coupled approach of using remote sensing and eDNA analysis offers many benefits as an alternative to traditional environmental monitoring methods, including that it collects environmental information from diverse sources in a timely manner, is replicable and comparable over time, and is more affordable than alternative methods such as forest surveys. Remote sensing uses satellite imagery to understand processes occurring on the Earth’s surface, while eDNA uses environmental samples to understand which organisms or taxonomic groups are present in an area. Lead author Dr. Karen Dyson notes, “Coupling the two technologies allows for both wall-to-wall coverage from remote sensing and the site-specific community composition from eDNA. Together, these methods can be used to calculate diverse sets of indicators for monitoring sustainable agriculture projects and other interventions.”

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