Problems related to management of natural resources and their trade and commercialization have both local, national, and regional aspects. Nevertheless, the problems and their solutions do not follow national borders that in northwestern South America do not, by any means, correspond to the delimitation of ecosystems or plant species distributions.
All four countries involved (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia) have part of their territories in the western Amazon basin and other parts in the Andean Cordillera, and three of them (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru) have lowlands towards the Pacific Ocean. The Amazonian ecosystems of the countries therefore have much more in common than each of them has with the same countries’ Andean and Pacific ecosystems, etc. Still trade and commercialization tend to follow political rather than ecological frontiers. A regional international approach therefore is more sensible than a national or local approach. Latin American research laboratories’ collaboration with European laboratories improves the research quality and provides opportunities for increased exchange of experiences, access to sophisticated equipment and technical skills related to its use. Furthermore there are long standing traditions for collaboration in the field of natural resources and their management between the involved South American and European laboratories. Many of the South American researchers involved have studied in European laboratories and all the European researchers have collaborated with this project’s South American laboratories in other contexts. The European approach hence, is also a reflection of scientific collaborative links across the Atlantic.