ACT participates in the IV International Congress on Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield in Georgetown, Guyana

Date: 
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

In August 2016, ACT participated in the IV International Congress on Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield in Georgetown, Guyana.  The Guiana Shield, a geologic designation that encompasses Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, and Venezuela as well as portions of Brazil and Colombia, is one of the world’s most biologically rich and diverse regions. ACT-Suriname staff gave a total of six presentations overall, and had a booth with materials for sale and display at the entrance of the conference, staffed by ACT-Suriname's Education and Outreach coordinator Katia Delvoye and management assistant and monitoring & evaluation coordinator Carlo Koorndijk.

During the forum, ACT research and development manager Bruce Hoffman introduced the forthcoming publication Lianas of the Guianas, which will provide a first comprehensive examination of this broad category of forest vine across three countries.  Contributions to the book’s content have been made by the ethnobotanists Sofie Ruysschaert, Frits van Troon, and Mark Plotkin as well as members of indigenous communities of southern Suriname. Wuta Wajimnu, a Trio indigenous representative from the village of Kwamalasamutu, described his people’s traditional use of lianas in surrounding forests. Hoffman also gave a presentation on Tassi palm monitoring methodologies used in Kwamalasamutu, with contributions from Wajimnu.

Additionally, Roché Bhola, ACT field station manager for the villages Kwamalasamutu and Sipaliwini, presented ACT’s groundbreaking interactive online map journal Amazon Gold Rush: Gold Mining in Suriname, launched in 2015, which details the nature, extent and current and potential consequences of small-scale and industrial gold mining in the nation. Bhola also presented on the use of DigitalGlobe high-resolution satellite imagery to monitor indigenous settlement and migration patterns across Southern Suriname.

Meanwhile, Niradj Hanoeman, ACT’s sustainable livelihoods officer and field station manager for the Matawai region and the village of Apetina, presented initial results of ACT’s camera-trap wildlife monitoring project in the interior forests. Wuta Wajimnu also contributed to this subject, noting the importance of understanding the prevalence of game species for his own community.  Hanoeman also presented on ACT's cultural and land use mapping legacy in Suriname including the organization's recent work with the Matawai Maroons. Wuta Wajimnu introduced the presentation by discussing his first hand-drawn map that he made in the late 1990s, which served as the basis for ACT-Suriname's first comprehensive Trio land use map published in 2001.

ACT hopes to engender greater representation of local communities in national and international conservation and sustainable livelihood forums.