The Universidad Politécnica de Madrid has participated from 2011 to 2015, in the European Commission funded project ROBIN (The Role Of Biodiversity In climate change mitigatioN). ROBIN is, an inter-disciplinary collaboration of 12 partners from the EU and Latin America, with its primary objective being to quantify the role of biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems of Latin America in mitigating climate change.
The role of the UPM team within ROBIN, led by Professor Consuelo Varela-Ortega, has been to develop a participatory process for the development of scenarios, the identification and prioritisation of policy options for biodiversity conservation and the mitigation of climate change. These participatory processes were developed in the case studies of ROBIN; Guarayos (Bolivia), Flona Tapajós (Brazil) and Chamela (Mexico). Further, the UPM team also evaluated using qualitative and quantitative modelling, the links between socioeconomic and ecological systems, particularly focussing upon agriculture of the conservation of forests.
The successful results of ROBIN were presented in a special session of the European Parliament on the 21st of October, chaired by the MEP Catherine Bearder and attended by project members, policy-makers and stakeholders. ROBIN has demonstrated that biodiversity matters and can be considered as important for problem solving, rather than simply as a co-benefit. ROBIN has shown that biodiversity makes ecosystems more resilient, and that more diverse forest systems create larger carbon sinks. ROBIN also highlighted the trade-offs between conservation of ecosystem services, such as biodiversity, and their social uses, which require local-scale stakeholder engagement to develop effective conservation/ management solutions.