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The University of Guyana (UG) stands to benefit from an inter-institutional collaboration that will strengthen the development of information services for mangrove mapping and monitoring via the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SERVIR-Amazonia and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
SERVIR-Amazonia, a subsidiary of SERVIR Global, is part of a joint development initiative by NASA and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
According to a statement issued recently, the MoU was signed on Tuesday, and will remain in effect until December 2023. It was signed by the Professor Paloma Mohamed Martin, Vice-Chancellor XI, University of Guyana and Jesús Quintana, Managing Director for the Americas of the Alliance of Bioversity International and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
Now that the MoU has been signed, UG with the backing of its partners, is moving ahead with its plans to prepare the nation’s Geospatial Scientists to effectively monitor Guyana’s ecosystems through enhanced academic research. The partnership will result also in the monitoring and evaluation of mangroves in Guyana using the latest geospatial technologies and satellite imagery to map the extent and structure of mangrove forests along the coastland.
“This will allow for both the Government of Guyana (GoG) and Civil Society actors to better analyze mangrove-related land-use changes and act on hotspots of deforestation to stop them on time,” the University said.
It was explained that the data retrieved will allow for better land-use planning, policy-making and actions that protect mangroves from being converted to other land uses, as well as to plan mangrove protection efforts for farmers in low-lying coastal regions.
UG will also participate in the co-development of the mangrove monitoring platform, and support the validation of data products with field data. It will also engage in workshops and training events led by SERVIR-Amazonia and its partners, and participate in activities related to the methodological development to monitor mangrove forests along Guyana’s Coast.
The signing of the MoU marked the culmination of a series of workshops over the last 18 months led by NASA scientists and those from UG’s Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences (FEES) and Centre for Study for Biological Diversity (CSBD) which included over 15 government entities.
Dr Temitope Oyedotun, Dean of UG’s FEES, who spearheaded the project, thanked all partners for their unwavering support in sharing knowledge and technology. He said the project was conceptualized based on discussions held in 2018 and today, he is thankful that it has blossomed into one that will benefit not only the University but also, the people of Guyana and the Caribbean.
Professor Mohamed, in her remarks, said the University is aligned with Guyana’s goal as an environmentally responsible State. She said the signing of the MoU with SERVIR-Amazonia and partners is part of a response to improve the use of geospatial data and information.
The Vice Chancellor said too that via the historic signing of the agreement, the research conducted will assist the University with the development of its Human Resiliency Systems programme, its new Geosciences programme, and Data Sciences programme now in its developmental stage.
Similarly, Quintana celebrated the important milestone: “The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT works on landscape and biodiversity conservation, as well as on digital inclusion. Based on our joint research we can collectively innovate and design better policies to confront the challenges the Amazon basin faces.”