DOMINICAN REPUBLIC — Team members from the International Institute of Tropical Forestry provided technical assistance and technology transfer a few weeks ago during a field trip to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The staff, composed of Forest Health and International Cooperation offices, assisted two local field technicians that are under the supervision of Dr. Wayne Arendt, IITF supervisory wildlife biologist, who serves as the principal investigator for a long-term study about urban birds and forest conservation in the area.
The five-year study was started in September 2016. María Paulino and Luis Paulino, field technicians, have been monitoring birds at different plots at the Distrito Nacional, a district of the Dominican Republic’s capital of Santo Domingo. María already had 17 years of fieldwork experience under her belt by the time she started as a volunteer on this project. It is a work that requires patience, responsibility and commitment.
María and Luis were trained by Dr. Arendt on the necessary methodology for conducting the study on their own. After they collect the data from the different plots, they upload it to a database in the United States. Dr. Arendt and other ornithologists later analyze all the information.
Kevin Carlin and Mariana Quiñones, from the Forest Health team, met with María and Luis Paulino to learn more about their work and also to share with them new technologies for data gathering and information processing. Specifically, they introduced to them the Survey 123 tool; a software that provides an easier way to collect data from georeferenced points. Jerry Bauer and Yaneris Soto, from International Cooperation office, also collaborated in these efforts. Bauer provided both of them with tools, technology assistance and information pertinent to their study. Specifically, he trained them in photography, as this tool is a crucial skill for field biologists.
María and Luis have succeeded doing this fieldwork with the support they have received and their own motivation to continue the expansion of similar projects to other provinces and municipalities. The technology transfer is crucial in this type of work, as community leaders can achieve more easily their goals with more efficient tools and techniques.