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Monitoring of Areas Undergoing Ecological Restoration


In Colombia, environmental deterioration is attributed to inadequate socio-economic planning on the part of various sectors (i.e. the government, civil society, private industry, etc.) and to the fact that economic development historically has occurred at the expense of the exploitation of natural resources. This paradigm does not take into consideration that economic growth depends on the ability of the natural systems to support all their processes.

As a result, the territory in which 67% of the nation’s population reside is extremely vulnerable to water shortages during dry years and to flooding or landslides during rainy years. Additionally, in most regions of the country there is a loss of biodiversity and both soils and maritime bodies of water have been polluted and degraded. Ecological restoration is – to date – the only concrete strategy that can help to understand and address these degradation processes, as well as to conserve and enhance biodiversity, maintain ecosystem services, improve human livelihoods, and adapt to global climate change.

Over the past two decades, various governmental institutions, NGOs and researchers have been interested in ecological restoration and have developed and implemented various research and applied ecological restoration projects. Despite these efforts, many of the basic concepts about restoration remain unclear. Moreover, more understanding is needed about the basic stages involved with the implementation of an ecological restoration project and how to define its objectives and measure success. 

This course was developed to help participants understand the importance of monitoring the project’s objectives and – based on that information – determine if they are being met or if there is a need to adapt the management strategy. The course also introduced concepts and strategies to participants that are usually not included in the design of restoration projects, but will help the participants to ensure that the projects are more effective in practice.


Module 1. What is monitoring? What do we want to evaluate? ¿What is success in an ecological restoration project?

Ecological restoration context in Colombia
Tropical forest degradation and the ecological effects of degradation
Case study #1: Restoration of severely eroded terrains with bioengineering techniques
Objectives and goals of a restoration project
Forest succession and ecological restoration
Participatory monitoring and social participation in restoration
What is monitoring and the Pact for the Restoration of Brazil's Atlantic Forest

Module 2. How to choose and evaluate indicators?

Using the scientific method

Module 3. Who does the monitoring? How is data collected?

Platform mounting and data collection

Module 4. How is data processed and analyzed?

Feedback process for Colombia's Biodiversity Information System (SiB)