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Johnson N.,Brown University | Alessa L.,University of Idaho | Behe C.,Inuit Circumpolar Council Alaska | Danielsen F.,Nordic Foundation for Development and Ecology NORDECO | And 8 more authors.
Arctic | Year: 2015

Community-based monitoring (CBM) in the Arctic is gaining increasing support from a wide range of interested parties, including community members, scientists, government agencies, and funders. Through CBM initiatives, Arctic residents conduct or are involved in ongoing observing and monitoring activities. Arctic Indigenous peoples have been observing the environment for millennia, and CBM often incorporates traditional knowledge, which may be used independently from or in partnership with conventional scientific monitoring methods. Drawing on insights from the first Arctic Observing Summit, we provide an overview of the state of CBM in the Arctic. The CBM approach to monitoring is centered on community needs and interests. It offers fine-grained, local-scale data that are readily accessible to community and municipal decision makers. In spite of these advantages, CBM initiatives remain little documented and are often unconnected to wider networks, with the result that many practitioners lack a clear sense of the field and how best to support its growth and development. CBM initiatives are implemented within legal and governance frameworks that vary significantly both within and among different national contexts. Further documentation of differences and similarities among Arctic communities in relation to observing needs, interests, and legal and institutional capacities will help assess how CBM can contribute to Arctic observing networks. While CBM holds significant potential to meet observing needs of communities, more investment and experimentation are needed to determine how observations and data generated through CBM approaches might effectively inform decision making beyond the community level. © 2015, The Arctic Institute of North America.

PubMed | Nordic Foundation for Development and Ecology NORDECO, Chiang Mai University, Copenhagen University and CAS Kunming Institute of Botany
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

Biodiversity conservation is a required co-benefit of REDD+. Biodiversity monitoring is therefore needed, yet in most areas it will be constrained by limitations in the available human professional and financial resources. REDD+ programs that use forest plots for biomass monitoring may be able to take advantage of the same data for detecting changes in the tree diversity, using the richness and abundance of canopy trees as a proxy for biodiversity. If local community members are already assessing the above-ground biomass in a representative network of forest vegetation plots, it may require minimal further effort to collect data on the diversity of trees. We compare community members and trained scientists data on tree diversity in permanent vegetation plots in montane forest in Yunnan, China. We show that local community members here can collect tree diversity data of comparable quality to trained botanists, at one third the cost. Without access to herbaria, identification guides or the Internet, community members could provide the ethno-taxonomical names for 95% of 1071 trees in 60 vegetation plots. Moreover, we show that the community-led survey spent 89% of the expenses at village level as opposed to 23% of funds in the monitoring by botanists. In participatory REDD+ programs in areas where community members demonstrate great knowledge of forest trees, community-based collection of tree diversity data can be a cost-effective approach for obtaining tree diversity information.

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