Anja Hutschenreiter, Ecologist and Tropical Conservationist

Letter of support from Anja Hutschenreiter, Ecologist and Tropical Conservationist

Anja Hutschenreiter Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Morelia, Mexico

Andrea (Drea) Burbank, MD CEO, Savimbo Inc. Carerra 6 - Numero #3-21, Villagarzon, Putumayo, Colombia

Re: Savimbo’s indicator-based biodiversity monitoring methodology

Dear Dr. Burbank,

I am writing to express my support for your proposed monitoring methodology to use indicator species as a metric of conserved biodiversity in tropical forests and other ecosystems.

I am commenting from my perspective as a tropical ecology and conservation researcher, specializing in population monitoring and ecoacoustics. With over six years of experience studying human-modified landscapes in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and investigating the effects of anthropogenic pressure on forest biodiversity, I am confident that Voluntary Biodiversity Crediting represents a significant opportunity for community-based conservation efforts in the global South.

The urgent need for regulatory markets and standardized monitoring schemes to support the conservation of species at risk of extinction, along with their habitats, cannot be overstated. These mechanisms empower local communities to implement necessary measures for the protection of their lands and the species inhabiting them, thereby ensuring their long-term conservation. Voluntary Biodiversity Crediting presents a promising avenue for incentivizing and financing conservation initiatives, particularly in regions where traditional conservation funding may be limited. By providing tangible economic benefits to local communities for biodiversity conservation efforts, such mechanisms can foster sustainable land management practices and promote biodiversity conservation on a broader scale.

I support Savimbo’s methodology because of its comprehensive, transparent and practical approach, which facilitatesthe self-sufficiency and active involvement of local communities, while being based on scientific consensus and the use of open-source tools. This approach ensures applicability across diverse habitats and for various indicator species, thereby promoting the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems.

Advancing the development of this methodology holds immense potential, extending beyond the Amazonian piedmont area to other tropical forests in the global South and any region facing biodiversity threats. By providing a viable alternative to unsustainable practices such as hunting, logging, and land development, it is crucial to ensure the livelihoods of those living in these ecosystems.

Local communities, with their deep-rooted knowledge passed down through generations, serve as invaluable stewards of these natural treasures. Biodiversity credits offer a fair and transparent means of generating decentralized employment opportunities in conservation, recognizing the essential role of these communities in safeguarding biodiversity and promoting sustainable land management practices.

I am aware of several aspects of the methodology, which have been intentionally simplified to allow for scientific consistency, market scale, and direct access to biodiversity markets for local peoples:

  • The methodology will allow for the use of trusted human coders for coordinates and date/time stamps for raw data from observation points (video or audio recordings), relying on verification/validation bodies to validate this data.

  • Range of sentinel species will be simplified to a circle with a documented observation point in the center, and the area of the circle determined by species-specific habitat needs derived from public sources.

  • The methodology will assign values to eight categories of indicator species (including rare/umbrella/keystone/endangered species). These values will vary based on the species ability to represent an intact biodiversity ecosystem.

  • No individual species identification, or density calculations will be made. Rather individual observations will be equated if they fall within a 2-month timeframe and the same geocoordinates.

  • Baseline biodiversity will be calculated from public sources, sometimes for a much wider region, organized by taxonomic kingdom.

While some researchers may possess more extensive tools for quantifying biodiversity, this methodology provides a sufficient framework for achieving accuracy, transparency, and standardization across various locations and ecosystems, including their respective faunal communities. I consider it to be a robust standard upon which to build a reliable market, capable of facilitating the immediate preservation of critical zones worldwide.

I am available to respond to requests for information, and happy to provide an independent voice for the validity of this methodology.


Dr. Anja Hutschenreiter Postdoctoral researcher Member of the IUCN SSC Species Monitoring Specialist Group National Geographic Explorer Head of Conservation Technology at the NGO ConMonoMaya Passport No: C4FJ0MCZ9

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