Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 237–239 | Cite as

Towards a more balanced view on the potentials of locally-based monitoring

  • Jens Friis LundEmail author
Brief Communication


The literature on locally-based monitoring in the context of conservation of ecosystems and natural resources in developing countries displays a great deal of optimism about its prospects as a low-cost approach to gather information about conservation outcomes. Yet, this optimism stands in stark contrast to studies on co-management between States and local communities showing that such processes—in which communities and the State ostensibly work hand in hand on the monitoring and management of natural resources—are fraught with power struggles within communities as well as between communities and the State and that the information produced and communicated is often invoked in such struggles. Information produced and communicated in systems of locally-based monitoring will reflect these struggles in particular if such systems are bound up with processes of co-management or REDD+ in which the information can be perceived by those who monitor to be linked to claims over resource rights and associated benefits. In such situations, trust in locally-based monitoring should be tempered by scepticism and systems of checks and balances.


Locally-based monitoring Co-management REDD Conservation 


  1. Agrawal A, Gibson CC (1999) Enchantment and disenchantment: the role of community in natural resource conservation. World Dev 27:629–649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Danielsen F, Balete DS, Poulsen MK (2000) A simple system for monitoring biodiversity in protected areas of a developing country. Biodivers Conserv 9:1671–1705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Danielsen F, Jensen AE, Alviola PA et al (2005) Does monitoring matter? a quantitative assessment of management decisions from locally-based monitoring of protected areas. Biodivers Conserv 14:2633–2652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Danielsen F, Burgess ND, Balmford A, Donald PF et al (2009) Local participation in natural resource monitoring: a characterization of approaches. Conserv Biol 23:31–42PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Garcia CA, Lescuyer G (2008) Monitoring, indicators and community based forest management in the tropics: pretexts or red herrings? Biodivers Conserv 17:1303–1317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Larrazábal A, McCall MK, Mwampamba TH, Skutsch M (2012) The role of community carbon monitoring for REDD+: a review of experiences. Curr Opin Environmental Sustainability 4:707–716CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mathews AS (2011) Instituting nature—authority, expertise, and power in Mexican forests. The MIT Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Nielsen MR, Lund JF (2012) Seeing white elephants? production and communication of information in a locally-based monitoring scheme in Tanzania. Conserv Soc 10:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Nightingale A (2005) ‘The experts taught us all we know’: professionalisation and knowledge in Nepalese community forestry. Antipode 37:581–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Pratihast AK, Herold M, De Sy V, Murdiyarso D, Skutsch M (2013) Linking community-based and national REDD+ monitoring: a review of the potential. Carb Manag 4(1):91–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ribot JC, Agrawal A, Larson AM (2006) Recentralizing while decentralizing: how national governments reapropriate forest resources. World Dev 34:1864–1886CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Roe D, Nelson F, Sandbrook C (eds) (2009) Community management of natural resources in Africa: impacts, experiences and future directions. natural resource issues no. 18. International Institute for Environment and Development, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Skutsch MM, van Laake PE, Zahabu EM, Karky BS, Phartiyal P (2009) Community monitoring in REDD+. In: Angelsen A, Brockhaus M, Kanninen M, Sills E, Sunderlin WD, Wertz-Kanounnikoff S (eds) Realizing REDD+: national strategy and policy options. CIFOR, BogorGoogle Scholar
  14. Yasué M, Kaufman L, Vincent CJ (2010) Assessing ecological changes in and around marine reserves using community perceptions and biological surveys. Aquatic Conserv 20:407–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food and Resource EconomicsUniversity of CopenhagenFrederiksberg CDenmark

Personalised recommendations