Mapa de Vida (Map of Life) is an initiative led by Para la Naturaleza that focuses on conservation of biodiversity on the Islands of Puerto Rico. In order to preserve the rich biodiversity found in the island we need to first identify where on the landscape these species occur and identify the potential threats, their habitat and the condition of the ecosystems within which they occur. Secondly we integrate this ecological and social information in a spatial database that allow us to develop decision support tools for the protection of species, habitat and ecosystems.
To better management the Island of Puerto Rico was divided into five regions based on watersheds. We developed a network of hexagons, with an area of 24 square kilometers, to be surveyed within each region. In each hexagon we carry out our Mapa de Vida’s science-based field activities.
The Mapa de Vida’s science-based activities fall under six interconnected environmental themes including: 1) watersheds, 2) biological diversity, 3) terrestrial ecosystems, 4) coastal ecosystems, 5) habitat connectivity, and 6) human systems. All protocols are design to engage citizens in science-based activities to support environmental conservation. Volunteers ages 12 and up that have a desire to learn more about the Earth’s environment are invited to participate in monitoring and inventory activities across the Island. In the process, they gain awareness on the critical issues relating to the protection of Puerto Rico’s natural environment.