De Observatorio del cambio global de Sierra Nevada
Under the name of the “Sierra Nevada Global Change Observatory”, ideas and methodologies proposed by the GLOCHAMORE project were implemented in this mountain region in 2008. This first phase of the observatory lasts two years and is being financed by the [www.juntadeandalucia.es/medioambiente Andalusian environmental administration] (Department of the Environment. Regional Government of Andalusia). Sierra Nevada’s active participation in the GLOCHAMORE project has greatly helped the inclusion of this project’s guidelines in the Sierra Nevada Observatory. The selection of environmental variables used for monitoring is based on this initiative’s proposed research strategy.
The basic objectives of the Sierra Nevada Global Change Observatory are to:
- Define, quantify and characterise natural processes and resources for identifying and differentiating between natural situations and other situations resulting from global change in any of its multiple factors. Whenever possible, it will be determined to what extent a certain situation can be attributed to specific factors.
- Characterise acceptable change limits so that it is possible to differentiate between a) recurring fluctuations and b) long-term changes, as well as detect and interpret anomalies in the shortest time possible. This will enable a quick and proportionate reaction to changes detected, if necessary.
- Supply information for correct planning of management activities aimed at reversing malfunctions detected in ecological processes.
- Assess effectiveness and efficiency of management activities carried out in view of any changes detected in order to propose appropriate adjustments for adaptive management.
- Provide reliable information to complement the monitoring efforts of other institutions that are responsible for ensuring the conservation of Sierra Nevada Biosphere Reserve, by virtue of international awards received.
- Determine research requirements, relative to any changes detected, that transcend the scope and objectives of a Natural Processes and Resources Monitoring Programme.
- Provide useful information to managers and researchers on global change in Sierra Nevada.
- Help to disseminate information of general interest that enhances knowledge of the values and importance of Sierra Nevada Biosphere Reserve.
To achieve the above objectives, a range of tasks is being carried out, grouped into four basic areas:
- Monitoring of environmental processes to diagnose the state of natural systems in the face of global change. The guidelines of the GLOCHAMORE Strategy have been followed to implement this monitoring system. The aim is to carry out a prolonged evaluation of several environmental variables using scientifically acceptable methodologies.
- Adaptive management: The goal of the whole project is to implement an adaptive environmental management model. This means management results are continuously assessed, with this assessment determining management objectives. A feedback mechanism is therefore established which improves the state and resilience of natural resources.
- Dissemination of results: we believe it is vital to implement dissemination mechanisms for both the results of the work and the methodologies and experience acquired during the project.
- Management of the information generated: a significant amount of varied information will be generated throughout the project. We believe it is very important to implement mechanisms for storing this information in an organised way. This greatly aids its interrelation for generating useful knowledge in the management process.
Main players involved
The Sierra Nevada Global Change Observatory is an ambitious project being led by a large work team. There are almost 80 people directly or indirectly involved in some of the observatory’s tasks. But what is really interesting about this team is the diversity of backgrounds, trainings and sensibilities. This variety lends strength and certain “resilience” to the work carried out. The project is organised into three areas for three public bodies, with each one having a series of project responsibilities. The main functions of these bodies and role of their principal members are described in the paragraph below:
- Department of the Environment: This is the body which promotes and finances all the actions. As the body responsible for managing the region, it is the main beneficiary of the results obtained. The general coordination and supervision of all work is carried out from the offices of Sierra Nevada Biosphere Reserve. Main responsibles for this body in the observatory are:
- Javier Sánchez Gutiérrez: Director of Sierra Nevada Biosphere Reserve. His main function is to coordinate the entire project and act as a link with the central services of the Regional Department of the Environment and the National Ministry of the Environment.
- Ignacio Henares Civantos: Assistant manager of Sierra Nevada Biosphere Reserve. His main role is to coordinate the disseminations efforts that the Observatory is making. He is also involved in the institutioinal relationships with the Regional Department of the Environment.
- Javier Cano Manuel-León: Project director. He is directly responsible for performing the tasks described in the project’s specifications. His main task is to monitor the work of the public company EGMASA.
- Antonio Gómez Hervás: coordinates forest rangers in Sierra Nevada. His main function is to coordinate the work of these rangers in their monitoring of different environmental variables.
- EGMASA (Environmental Management Company): this is the Department of the Environment's public company. As such, it is the executive branch for most of its work. It carries out and coordinates field work, materials acquisition, human resources management, etc. The main people involved in the EGMASA project are:
- Ignacio Maldonado: coordinator of the EGMASA biodiversity area in Granada. His main role in this project is to handle EGMASA’s human and material resources in response to the project’s needs.
- Rut Aspizua: coordinates technical tasks carried out by EGMASA in this project. She is also in charge for this company's relations with the people responsible for the project in the Department of the Environment in Sierra Nevada Biosphere Reserve.
- CEAMA Ecology Laboratory (Andalusian Environment Centre): Research Centre under the University of Granada and Regional Government of Andalusia. Its role in this project is to add scientific knowledge to two important aspects of the project. On the one hand, it is responsible for the scientific coordination of all tasks. This involves validating methodologies, organising seminars, promoting exchange with other similar projects, etc. On the other hand, it is responsible for designing and running an information system that stores all information generated by the observatory. CEAMA’s two representatives in this project are:
- Regino Zamora. Professor of Ecology at the University of Granada. He is the project’s scientific coordinator. He is involved in defining objectives and designing and planning monitoring actions. He is also responsible for coordinating the project nationally and internationally with other similar projects. Finally, he offers scientific advice and makes sure the project’s scientific-technical objectives are achieved.
- Francisco Javier Bonet. He works for CEAMA. He is responsible for the functional and structural design of the Sierra Nevada monitoring programme information system. He coordinates the analysis and synthesis of information included in this information system. He also coordinates relations between the Sierra Nevada information system and others arising from similar national and international projects.