Objective & Methodology
PRODIGY intends to understand the interdependencies between functional soil biodiversity, human-environment interactions, governance and the potential of socio-economic-ecological transformation of local societies at the border triangle of Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, so-called MAP-region.
Our common starting point is the understanding of the role of tipping points in each participating discipline. As for social sciences, we need to observe the necessary elements to guarantee social cohesion, cultural identity and eco-economic resilience in times of fast social transformations. Sometimes good institutions and governance are essential to compensate emerging gaps during transformation processes; sometimes nature provides the necessary extra income to survive transformation. In the case of the MAP-region transformation management could be provided by the intelligent and well informed interplay between learning institutions and an actively involved group of stakeholders striving for future oriented access to land and natural resources. PRODIGY’s role in that process would be to take up emerging questions, integrate them to our research agenda and contribute with the knowledge needed to achieve well informed decisions.
The heart and starting point of our project will be biodiversity related processes that may occur too far away from conventional research-designs and scales to be regulated by policy instruments. Taking this into account, our inter- and transdisciplinary research consortium employs a multivariate and multi-scale approach. We want to explore how public policies and land-management strategies can operationalize the use of biodiversity as a valuable asset for ensuring human livelihood and maintaining socio- ecological system resilience in the face of climate change and economic shocks. At the triple frontier of Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, we presume good conditions for testing our approach in both natural and institutional systems. Our main approaches will be to (1) identify three comparable research regions in the three countries to address our research questions , (2) to really involve the already identified stakeholder groups and institutional co-operations in all three countries and ensure their co-operation by including them into the research process, and (3) develop a sampling- and data-handling design tailored to the requirements of a state-of-the art multivariate modelling- approach which mediates the extended obstacles imposed by the high levels of biophysical, cultural and societal diversity.