Biomonitoring and its results inevitably overlap with questions of policy at multiple levels. Our goal is to compile biological information, interpret it and suggest strategies and actions leading to protection, mitigation or restoration of natural communities and ecosystem services. At its simplest level, this involves working with individual landowners to enhance management of their properties. It also leads to formal and informal recommendations at the level of communities, tribal, local and national governments and international agencies. In every case, we promote the involvement of local individuals and organizations in this process.
At the opposite extreme from working with individual landowners, the most visible aspect of this portion of our work has been interaction with UNESCO and the national governments on questions related to the management of the La Amistad World Heritage Site and proposals for megadevelopments (hydroelectric dams and open pit metal mines) in the region. While we have offered opinions as professionals in biological science, at least as important has been training and facilitation for the indigenous communities and local conservation groups to offer their own analysis of development proposals and related activities in local, national and international forums.
This integration of scientific information with public policy discussion has been instrumental in slowing the pace hastily considered development plans and improving the prospects for biodiversity conservation in the La Amistad area. An important byproduct has been the fostering of positive relationships between the indigenous territories and their governments on one hand with the neighboring protected areas complex (World Heritage Site) on the other.