Caatinga Integrated Watershed Resources

In the northern region of Brazil, the Caatinga has become one of the most threatened watersheds in the world. Deforestation and a lack of conservation efforts have driven this once richly forested region to the brink of ruin. Integrated watershed management (with the participation of key people and organizations) has become widely accepted as the approach best suited for sustainable management of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources in upland areas like Caatinga.

Systemic, institutional and financial capacity barriers have limited holistic actions from all involved parties. Because of the complex, multi-party involvement of this issue, a collaborative and cohesive analysis environment is necessary for effectively addressing the unique challenges that analysts face when looking for solutions to complex problems like natural resource management.

Savanna’s collaborative workspace and unique, model-based approach are ideal for analyzing complex problems. Savanna’s dynamic, all-source analysis environment gives analysts the ability to investigate an integrated watershed management project, gather research about the history and effects of deforestation, build a collaborative and adaptable knowledge network and compile evidence to implement strategies for rebuilding watershed methods.

Savanna Takes on Watershed Management

A group of analysts decides to explore watershed management techniques, as well as projects that can be implemented to improve living conditions in Caatinga.

1: Frame the Problem

First, they use Crumbnet to create a narrative mind map that outlines the steps needed to develop a scalable community watershed development model in Caatinga’s devastated ecoregion.

2: Capture Information

With Savanna’s dynamic Occurrence dossiers, the analysts collaboratively populate an information network about key players working to establish Caatinga’s watershed management model. Occurrences are building blocks that capture people, organizations, things, places and events related to a problem. In this case, the analysts make Organization Occurrences for members of a participatory consortium. Under the Event section, they connect the Caatinga Ecoregion Place Occurrence to an event representing regional farm trials.

3: Visualize Data to Find Meaning

Then, they use Linknet to create a link chart visualizing all connections to the Caatinga Ecoregion Place Occurrence and the formation of the research consortium. They view selected nodes in detail and expand relationships to discover and identify any outliers.

In Timeline, the analysts drop multiple Occurrences, such as various notable Event Occurrences, onto a visual span of time to draw connections between events within each Occurrence. Visualizing event times from multiple Event and Place Occurrences side-by-side gives the analysts the opportunity to see the progress of the watershed management plan. They can also use the Selection panel in the Details sidebar to read more about the events on the Timeline, with links to view the events in more detail in the Occurrence view.

Watershed Management Graphic
Watershed Management Occurrence


With Graphic, they can customize Grid (CSV) data to visualize the productivity and farming methods of the farm trials as a line chart. Here, they view the total productivity as a line chart to get a quick understanding of the overall results of the trials. They take a screenshot to be used later in a report, which is automatically saved to the Space they’re working in.

With the Map tool, they can geospatially visualize a CSV of gross deforestation in Caatinga. The category lens gives them a detailed view of the percentage of loss in each region, while the temporal filter gives the analysts a view of the incidents within a certain date range, making it easy to see when and where deforestation began to increase.

4: Discover New Information

To provide more supporting evidence, the analysts use Savanna’s Search tool to find relevant content. Because Savanna’s Search feature can pull indexed mentions of key terms from within PDFs, they’re able to find the summited Caatinga proposal uploaded by another Savanna user. They can easily add the PDF to their Space to be used as supporting evidence in the Participatory Consortium Approach Crumbnet.

5: Place Evidence

The analysts revisit the Crumbnet outlining the consortium process and add discoveries and evidence collected throughout their analysis. From the Space Content panel, they add the deforestation Map and Productivity Trials Graphic as supporting evidence to a node. The Crumbnet now acts as a final summary of the analysis and is shared with team members and exported to PDF to send to fellow analysts and decision-makers for further action.

The Result

They then create a Production to illustrate their findings. Productions are reports that help the analysts tell a compelling, fully sourced story about their findings, complete with the content that they’ve gathered and created in Savanna. In Production, the analysts capture relevant content from multiple sources, such as the Map image showing deforestation in Caatinga. They also add links to the knowledge network, such as the Organization Occurrences for members of a participatory consortium. Once complete, they share their Production with fellow Savanna team members and export it for further collaboration and action.

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