The world’s tropical rain forests have a crucial role in the natural cycles that sustain life on earth. Despite its essential role, deforestation of these important environments increases daily, but a breath of fresh air blows from Costa Rica.
Either the advance of cities or agricultural borderlines destroy the rain forests, even those protected by law are falling under this “conquest.” Sadly this issue becomes even more critical by taking into consideration that many of the countries with rainforests, lack the resources to inspect on their condition adequately.
But a technological platform created in Costa Rica, called Mocupp (Monitoring Land Use Change Within Production Landscapes) http://www.mocupp.org, appears as an efficient tool to guarantee the defense of these forests. It also provides a better and affordable planification for agricultural land use. The highlight of this tool it’s not in the use of new technologies; it is in the kind of data it feeds on and the way it uses that data. Mocupp analyzes satellite images from the Landsat program, even if this is not the latest technology, it gets the job done, besides being free of charge.
After its first year, it delivered surprising and worrisome results about the growth of pineapple monocultures inside protected areas in Costa Rica. Mocupp showed that a total of 5.000 hectares were inside forests with some sort of protection.
According to Kifah Sasa, the project’s leader, “Mocupp, it’s not a technology, it’s a management strategy for 3 different entities, each one with particular skills and specific rulings, entities that can be found on any government organization in the world. This is what makes of Mocupp and exportable idea.”
There are three cornerstones, as Sasa says. First, independent tele- detection service that delivers data about the total area of crops and about the loss or gain of forest coverage concerning those crops. Secondly, several contour property registration maps and thirdly an open source webpage (http://www.snitcr.go.cr) where all previous data is related to streets, rivers, protected areas, water wells, etc.
On many developing countries, such as Costa Rica, the second cornerstone, made of digital maps of property registration contours, it merely does not depict the total area of those countries. Therefore, Mocupp presents a way of progressively moving forward: It relays on providing funds for the digital mapping of low-density rural regions through the digital mapping of high-density areas.
Costa Rica is the country where this platform was created and is the first country to execute it. After its first year, it delivered surprising and worrisome results about the growth of pineapple monocultures inside protected areas. Mocupp showed that a total of 5.000 hectares were inside forests with some sort of protection.
Mocupp gathered participation from: PNUD Green Commodities Programme , UN-REDD, Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía de Costa Rica, Registro Nacional de Costa Rica, CENAT, GEF y PRIAS.
Kifah Sasa, Mocupp project’s leader.