“CREA’s research is incredibly interdisciplinary ... . a team of specialists may be composed of those with impressive higher degrees and others who cannot read but have immense local knowledge. It is this idea of participation at all levels that promotes bottom up approaches and local knowledge while integrating top down analytical tools and global scale perceptions that impresses me most about CREA and it is this that really made me convinced to join their team and become their scientific advisor.”
Dr. David Diaz-Sanchez. Environmental Protection Agency Scientist.
CREA’s strength comes from the partnerships it has formed with individuals, institutions, government and private business. With a presence in Panama City, the Mamoni Valley, multiple locations in Chiriqui province and in San Francisco, we are able to network with leading scientists, development experts, educators, and business leaders to assist us in our mission.
We are currently undertaking a host of different projects that will aid us in our understanding of ecosystem function and the threats that these ecosystems face. This research will allow us to monitor and protect these functions more efficiently and will also allow us to prioritize our community efforts.
Here is a partial list of some of our more recent projects:
Monitoring of Atelopus limosus Populations
With funding from the Rufford Small Grants Foundation CREA is monitoring the highly endangered frog species in Cocobolo. Atelopus species have become extinct or locally extirpated in many parts of their range due to the spread of the lethal Chytrid fungus.
Using Technology to Combat Environmental Degradation in Rural Areas
CREA is currently undertaking a project that will set up a real time environmental monitoring system at Cocobolo Nature Reserve. The project will install micro-sensors in the reserve that will record and send environmental data to the internet. Once the sensor array is set up and internet connectivity brought to Cocobolo, our local staff and scientists will be able to “see” environmental changes as they happen. Results from this research will be used towards understanding the role of human activities and forest function, including climate change, so that we are better able to manage our forest resources as human impacts increase.
Integrative Management Plan for Sub-watersheds Ciri Grande and Trinidad of the Panama Canal
CREA began the groundwork for a Payment for Environmental Service (PES) scheme in one pilot area of the Panama Canal Watershed, a vast area that captures the freshwater needed for canal function. Loss of forests and silting of rivers due to erosion through activities of cattle ranchers and small-scale farmers has threatened the continued functioning of the canal, hence the Panamanian government's wish to incorporate a PES scheme so that farmers in the area conserve their forests. CREA’s work includes undertaking an inventory of biodiversity, environmental services, human population centers, human activities and income generation, land use, and environmental threats, to name a few, in over 50,000 ha including two major watersheds of the Panama Canal. This work will be used to begin the formulation of a plan that will eventually be used throughout the Canal Watershed and perhaps work as a model for the entire country.
Participatory Validation and the Replica of Sustainable Agricultural Practices in the Panama Canal Watershed
Another project within the Panama Canal Watershed has trained 10 farmers from 5 villages in sustainable agricultural techniques that promote environmental and production sustainability. The project validated the production, environmental sustainability and community acceptance of these practices. The project further trained the 10 farmers to become trainers themselves so as to disseminate the information further within and among communities of the region.
We are constantly evaluating and undertaking new opportunities and welcome all levels of interest and participation. If you are interested in any of these or have a new opportunity, please contact Michael Roy at Michael@crea-panama.org