Rainforest Alliance Launches Updated Online Encyclopedia of Conservation Projects in Neotropics

The Rainforest Alliance announces the launch of the redesigned and updated Eco-Index (www.eco-index.org), an online bilingual reference of conservation projects underway in Latin America and the Caribbean. Online since February 2001, the site has been redesigned to implement new technologies and an updated, user-friendly interface.

“The Eco-Index is the premiere communications vehicle for conservation researchers based in the Neotropics to easily share data, lessons learned, methodologies, and reports and studies,” explained Diane Jukofsky, director of communications and education at the Rainforest Alliance. “Historically, researchers have lacked an easily accessible communications mechanism, leading to unnecessarily duplicated results, and even mistakes. As the time to conserve the Earth’s remaining tropical ecosystems grows shorter, effectively sharing available information is becoming more crucial.”

The information on the Eco-Index is submitted by project directors via a template questionnaire, available on the Eco-Index or by emailing eco-index@ra.org. To ensure the quality of information available on the site, the Eco-Index staff, based in New York and Costa Rica, carefully edits, fact checks and translates each questionnaire . To best serve its audience, the site is completely available in English and Spanish, and profiles of projects based in Brazil are also in Portuguese.

Jukofsky noted that the popularity of the Eco-Index continues to grow, with more than 20,000 visitors each month. “That statistic tells us that conservationists are learning from each other, sharing information, and building on the work of others,” she said. “Through the Eco-Index the conservation community is establishing a permanent record of innovative efforts to safeguard biodiversity in the Neotropics.”

The Eco-Index features more than 550 projects of 400 non-governmental organizations and government ministries throughout the Neotropics. The database is searchable by country, keyword, organization, funders or by 73 categories including agriculture, community-based conservation, ecotourism and wildlife research. Project profiles outline objectives, accomplishments, budget, monitoring and evaluation methods and lessons learned. Any pertinent reports can be posted on each project’s profile in PDF format for free downloading. An average of 7,000 reports are downloaded from the site each month.

The Eco-Index’s “What’s New?” page is an online environmental magazine, updated each month. This page features interviews with foundation officers and researchers in the field, highlights of exceptional new projects added to the Eco-Index, a bi-monthly newsletter featuring articles about Neotropical conservation projects, and an archive of conservation reports in PDF format.

The Eco-Index is sponsored by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the Costa Rica-USA Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Spray Foundation, and the Global Environment Facility – Small Grants Program of Costa Rica. For sponsorship information, visit www.eco-index.org/sponsors/index.cfm.

Read more about this project in the Eco-Index:
www.eco-index.org/search/results.cfm?ProjectID=66

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