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Collaboratory update November 2023 | Colombia

The latest news from our colleagues in Colombia

30 November 2023

Our Colombia Collaboratory has been exploring the importance of ecosystem services, and the potential of tools like Payment for Ecosystems Services (PES) models in aiding environmental preservation and conservation. In order to ensure diverse perspectives and local knowledge, beliefs, and values are included within their research, the team has developed close working relationships with a number of different communities living throughout the Las Piedras watershed and in the urban area of the Cajibio municipality. In collaboration with the bioeconomy project based at Universidad del Cauca, Hub colleagues held community workshops on the integral valuation of ecosystem services. Through the use of activities like social cartography, land use and conflict identification, and water quality scenarios, the importance of ecosystem services emerged, especially in the construction of territories and water management processes. Including multiple, diverse, and local perspectives is central to the Hub’s systems thinking approach, helping us build a better understanding of the complete ‘picture’ of water security in each of our programme sites.

Water monitoring out in the field
Water monitoring out in the field

Water monitoring out in the field

As well as working closely with communities, our Colombian colleagues have developed crucial relationships with water management stakeholders. Hub researcher Juliana Salazar, has been working with the El Tablazo Drinking Water Treatment Plant, to begin the characterisation of the plant operation and functioning. Alongside this, daily sampling and water quality monitoring is taking place, measuring parameters of interest including turbidity: pH, temperature, real and apparent colour, and absorbance UVA 254 nm. The results will aid in estimating values for UVA parameters, which are not measured in the DWTP. So far, water monitoring has taken place at three key points for one month during the dry season, and will continue during the climatic transition and the rainy season.

A number of Hub colleagues took part in the IGARSS Conference 2023, in Pasadena, California. Yady Tatiana Solano-Correa from our Colombia Collaboratory presented her work on two different topics: “Windthrows detection with satellite remote sensing data: a comparison among Sentinel-2, Planet, and COSMO Sky-Med data”, and "Individual tree crown delineation and biomass estimation from LiDAR data in Gorgona island, Colombia”. A cross-Hub team also presented their work on "Rapid mapping of waterbody variations in the central rift valley, Ethiopia, using the digital Earth Africa open data cube. 

Colombian ECRs visiting the UK team

One of the most important outputs to emerge from the Hub is the development of our Early Career Researcher network, spanning both disciplines and geographies. Capacity strengthening amongst our team has been central to not only progressing the work of the Hub, but enabling long-term, sustainable change. As our colleague, Nasser Tuqan said: “we are the real seeds of change, because we will carry these lessons far beyond the duration of the Hub”.

This year a number of our researchers have conducted secondments and placements across our global team. PhD candidates Natalia Duque, Rachael Maysels, and David Chaquea carried out secondments at Newcastle University, where they were able to work closely with Hub Professors on their doctoral research, as well as participating in various academic events like the Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference, the Peace-RU2K summer school, and the Newcastle Annual Landscape Jamboree. PhD candidate, Mario Patiño, carried out a placement at the National Agrarian University La Molina in Lima, Perú, working on the hydrological model of the Upper Palacé River Basin in the UCRB. Mario’s work focused on the  TETIS model, which is a conceptual, distributed, and physically parameter-based model that allows for high-resolution modelling of the hydrological behaviour of a hydrographic basin.

Finally, Colombian colleagues also participated in the II SENNOVATORS of Knowledge Meeting, at the Centre of Commerce and Services in Cauca, addressing the dissemination of knowledge, strengthening vocations for early career researchers, and the social appropriation of research results. The Hub will participate through spaces for interaction with the academic community, the productive sector, and society in general, and with workshops addressing success cases in the sectors of coffee production and agrotourism.

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