Monitoring Ecosystem Services, Agriculture and Livelihoods in Rwanda

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In 2010, the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network was awarded a 3-year grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to conduct monitoring on ecosystem services in the context of agricultural intensification and climate change to improve human wellbeing. The overall goal of the project is to implement a systematic monitoring network to provide near real-time, quantitative data on biodiversity and livelihoods in Rwanda. In conjunction with the TEAM monitoring, CI’s Conservation Stewards Program and Verde Ventures are testing a set of incentives and co-investments that will enable Rwandan smallholder farmers to choose sustainable agricultural practices. The vision of this integrated approach is to give decision makers a way to evaluate the impacts of such incentive programs on ecosystem health and demonstrate the importance of ecosystems to sustainable economic growth.

Conservation International has partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Rwanda to collect data on landscape composition, climate, water, soil, fuelwood and resilience. These data will be combined with household-level socioeconomic data to determine the specific ecosystem services on which Rwandan people rely. Two monitoring landscapes were implemented in 2012 near Gitarama and Nyungwe National Park. CI also organized workshops in collaboration with local and national partners to identify three demonstration sites for assessing the suitability of conservation agreements and examining market conditions, emphasizing links between conservation and economic growth.

In 2013, the TEAM Network was awarded another grant from the MacArthur Foundation to extend the incentive and monitoring framework in Rwanda to sites in Uganda and Tanzania. The demonstration sites in Uganda and Tanzania will be selected in coordination with Vital Signs: An Integrated Global Monitoring System for Agriculture, Ecosystem Services, and Human Well-Being. TEAM aims to connect the financing activities with the Vital Signs Monitoring System to demonstrate how to harness real-time information to analyze the impacts of sustainable agricultural initiatives on biodiversity and ecosystem services within a national-level, adaptive management framework.

To explore Rwanda data, please visit the data query and download page.