Community-Based Monitoring In Depth
New research published in BioScience shows that natural resource monitoring anchored in and conducted by communities can deliver credible data, inform decision-making, and empower communities in governing natural resources.
Mobile devices and social media as well as simple, low-tech methods allow for hundreds of millions of people to participate in scientific processes, gather information, and achieve results that are significant both locally and globally. This is important as there is a serious risk that natural resource management decisions are poorly targeted at addressing the most critical actions due to the limited data currently available, especially true in remote areas.
Community members or citizen scientists can provide multiple, fine-scaled data points that cannot be measured by remote sensing. This includes changes like species abundance, habitat use and degradation, local use of biomass and hunted species, local pressures on nature, and the introductions of species outside their normal ranges. At the same time, community-based monitoring can empower local people in natural resource management.
Over the past year, NORDECO staff have worked with many partners to develop four major review papers on key aspects of community-based monitoring. The papers have been published in a Special Section on Community-Based Monitoring in BioScience:
1: Expanding the Impact of Citizen Science (Introduction)
2: The Concept, Practice, Application, and Results of Locally Based Monitoring
3: The Use of Digital Platforms for Community-Based Monitoring
4: Creating Synergies between Citizen Science and Indigenous and Local Knowledge
5: Connecting Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches in Environmental Observing. See video here.
The story has been picked up by several media:
The Growing Promise of Community-Based Monitoring and Citizen Science. Media release by AAAS (The American Association for the Advancement of Science)
Acknowledgments. The publications in the Special Section have been supported by the EC H2020 projects INTAROS, CAPARDUS, and FRAMEwork (grants no. 727890, no. 869673, and no. 862731) and by further financial contributions made by the institutions of all of the participating authors.
Photograph by M. K. Poulsen.