For more than two years, 13 UN Online Volunteers supported the Fundacion Desarollo y Ambiente (FUNDA) on a research project that analyzes, categorizes and maps types of vegetation and landscape to predict the effects of climate change. The Colombian NGO focuses on studying the relationship between vegetation types and environment in various regions of the country, with the aim of making this research available to the government and inform national environmental policies regarding conservation and biodiversity, climate change mitigation, land use regulation, and landslide and flood control.
Totaling 5,918 hours of work, the volunteers’ contribution consisted of creating a database for types of vegetation and topography in the Caribbean, Orinoco and Páramo regions of Colombia, verifying the species’ botanical names, georeferencing the information using Excel and ArcGIS, and mapping the correlation of vegetation, climate, and geomorphological processes.
After training the volunteers on the research approach, Jaime Bernal-Hadad from FUNDA set up working groups as well as weekly Skype meetings for tracking the team’s progress and assigning new tasks. “I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation for the work undertaken by each online volunteer, as well for their strong commitment and professionalism. The interaction between them is one that would be expected in any solid research group,” he says.