The goal is to provide “the expertise and resources to citizens to integrate science into their culture, enabling them to understand the world in which we live.” In any way? “Promote the acquisition of skills in the prevention of natural hazards, adaptation to climate change and the effective management of resources, in the following areas: environmental education; forest monitoring and conservation; community awareness and training,” explains Edith Fernandez.
To this end, the researchers began designing and creating a system that “using satellite and ancillary data (generated from field trips), allows to obtain information about land use and occupation, regional dynamics, forest inventory, real-time precipitation and anomaly detection.”
This system – explains Edite Fernandes – “will be displayed on a touch screen, in the permanent interactive exhibition of CCVFloresta, and will therefore be accessible to those who visit us”.
The project, funded by BPI/Fundação ‘la Caixa’, is communicated to the community through the Knowledge Transfer Academy, which includes science cafés, workshops and activities with schools.
The forest as a source of knowledge
The project “Observation for Decision and Value” is promoted by the Ciência Viva da Floresta, an interactive science and technology publishing space, belonging to the national network of 21 Ciência Viva Centers distributed throughout the country. Open to the public since July 21, 2007, it has already received over 190,000 visitors. It is located in the Pinhal Interior Sul district of the municipality of Proença-a-Nova, which has a forest density of 80.7%, equivalent to an area of 319.2 km²).
“The CCVFloresta theme stems from the concept of the forest as a source of knowledge, which underlines the need for continuous updating of scientific knowledge for effective environmental management, as well as its valorization as a central element of contemporary scientific culture.” Edith Fernandez.
In this way, the center promotes scientific culture and challenges the public to share and discuss new experiences. “We believe in social progress built on curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, and the participation of all citizens,” he says.
After the fires that swept the country in 2017, they decided to act. “At the time, we recognized the need for targeted and ongoing action” to boost information from local communities.
To achieve the set goals, they challenged the University of Coimbra’s Institute of Environment, Technology and Life (IATV), which guarantees them technical advice, and conceptualized the Monitoring for Decision and Value project which they submitted to promotion program 2018 Borderlands (BPI | Fundação “la Caixa”).
The planned objectives had to be rescheduled, as a result of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic that forced the Academy of Knowledge Transfer, which was initially to be held in a face-to-face format, to take place in a mixed face-to-face format. And the shape of the Internet.
Focusing on the Pinhal Interior Sul area, the intervention under this project “could be replicated in other areas with similar characteristics”, notes Edite Fernandes.
The data obtained will be useful to residents of that region, the general public, the scientific community, teachers and students across the country, as well as families visiting CCVFloresta, and professionals from different regions.