The Biomonitoring or biological monitoring is a pathway to understanding and evaluating environmental health and quality by, studying living organisms whose susceptibility or tolerance to certain conditions permits us to quantify and qualify levels of disturbance or pollution of a given environment.
The biomonitoring program developed in Talamanca, Valle de la Estrella and surrounding areas of Panama, focuses on the monitoring of rivers and watersheds of these areas, in order to assess the health of river ecosystems and to obtain information on possible causes (anthropogenic and / or natural) of the conditions observed, thus providing guidelines for the design and development of management strategies to protect and restore the integrity of these ecosystems.
The biological assessment techniques applied in the project are based on sampling of fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages, along with direct evaluation of habitat parameters thus permitting the determination of indices of biotic integrity.
ANAI Association in conjunction with the Talamanca Biological Corridor (CBTC), launched the biomonitoring project in 2000 with the intention of developing a permanent mechanism for continual monitoring in support of conservation efforts focused on species and ecosystems of the area. We are now in our12th consecutive year of implementing this mechanism, and are also well embarked on the challenge of sharing our knowledge and methodology with other regions of Mesoamerica.
The program engages the people of Talamanca in assessing and understanding the health of their rivers and watersheds, with a strong component of scientific research. It aims at promoting interest and appreciation of biodiversity, in order to apply the information to protecting and restoring rivers, creeks and streams in the area, in the context of their watersheds. It has a strong environmental education component and as a pioneer effort in the tropics, seeks help in establishing similar programs elsewhere.