Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 185, Issue 12, pp 10297–10316 | Cite as

A systems approach to modeling Community-Based Environmental Monitoring: a case of participatory water quality monitoring in rural Mexico

  • Ana Burgos
  • Rosaura Páez
  • Estela Carmona
  • Hilda Rivas
Article

Abstract

Community-Based Environmental Monitoring (CBM) is a social practice that makes a valuable contribution to environmental management and construction of active societies for sustainable future. However, its documentation and analysis show deficiencies that hinder contrast and comparison of processes and effects. Based on systems approach, this article presents a model of CBM to orient assessment of programs, with heuristic or practical goals. In a focal level, the model comprises three components, the social subject, the object of monitoring, and the means of action, and five processes, data management, social learning, assimilation/decision making, direct action, and linking. Emergent properties were also identified in the focal and suprafocal levels considering community self-organization, response capacity, and autonomy for environmental management. The model was applied to the assessment of a CBM program of water quality implemented in rural areas in Mexico. Attributes and variables (indicators) for components, processes, and emergent properties were selected to measure changes that emerged since the program implementation. The assessment of the first 3 years (2010–2012) detected changes that indicated movement towards the expected results, but it revealed also the need to adjust the intervention strategy and procedures. Components and processes of the model reflected relevant aspects of the CBM in real world. The component called means of action as a key element to transit “from the data to the action.” The CBM model offered a conceptual framework with advantages to understand CBM as a socioecological event and to strengthen its implementation under different conditions and contexts.

Keywords

Water quality Community-based research System research Emergent properties Tropical dry lands 

References

  1. Barreto, L. M., Milroy, A. C., Strina, A., Prado, S. M., Leite, J. P., Ramos, G. E. A., et al. (2006). Community-based monitoring of diarrhea in urban Brazilian children: incidence and associated pathogens. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 100, 234–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Becker, C. D., Agreda, A., Astudillo, E., Costantino, M., & Torres, P. (2005). Community based monitoring of fog capture and biodiversity at Loma Alta, Ecuador enhance social capital and institutional cooperation. Biodiversity and Conservation, 14, 2695–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berkes, F., Berkes, M., & Fast, H. (2007). Collaborative integrated management in Canada's North: the role of local and traditional knowledge and community-based monitoring. Coastal Management, 35, 143–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Björkmanand, M., & Svensson, J. (2009). Power to the people: evidence from a randomized field experiment on community-based monitoring in Uganda. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124, 735–769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bliss, J., Aplet, G., Hartzell, C., Harwood, P., Jahnige, P., Kittredge, D., et al. (2001). Community-based ecosystem monitoring. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 12, 143–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bodorkós, B., & Pataki, G. (2009). Linking academic and local knowledge: community-based research and service learning for sustainable rural development in Hungary. Journal of Cleaner Production, 17, 1123–1131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, P. R., Jacobs, B., & Leith, P. (2012). Participatory monitoring and evaluation to aid investment in natural resource manager capacity at a range of scales. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 184, 7207–7220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cavana, R. Y., & Mares, E. D. (2004). Integrating critical thinking and systems thinking: from premises to causal loops. System Dynamics Review, 20, 223–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clayton, A., & Radcliffe, N. (1997). Sustainability: a systems approach. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  10. Conners, D. E., Eggert, S., Keyes, J., & Merrill, M. (2001). Community-based water quality monitoring by the Upper Oconee Watershed Network. In K. J. Hatcher (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2001 Georgia Water Resources Conference (pp. 706–709). Georgia: Athens.Google Scholar
  11. Conrad, C., & Daoust, T. (2008). Community-based monitoring frameworks: Increasing the effectiveness of environmental stewardship. Environmental Management, 41, 356–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Conrad, C., & Hilchey, K. (2011). A review of citizen science and community-based environmental monitoring: issues and opportunities. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 176, 273–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Coyle, R. G., & Alexander, M. D. W. (1997). Two approaches to qualitative modelling of a nation's drugs trade. System Dynamics Review, 13, 205–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Danielsen, F., Burgess, D. N., Balmford, A., Donald, F. P., Funder, M., Jones, G. J., et al. (2008). Local participation in natural resource monitoring: a characterization of approaches. Conservation Biology, 23, 31–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Delaney, D. G., Sperling, C. D., Adams, C. S., & Leung, B. (2008). Marine invasive species: validation of citizen science and implications for national monitoring networks. Biological Invasions, 10, 117–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Deutsh, W. G., Busby, L. A., Orprecio, L. J., Bago-Labis, P. J., & Cequiña, Y. E. (2005). Community-based hydrological and water quality assessment in Mindanao, Philippines. In M. Bonell & L. A. Bruijnzeel (Eds.), Forest, water and people in the humid tropics: past, present and future hydrological research for integrated land and water management (pp. 134–150). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Deutsch, W. G., Reutebuch, E. G., & Ruíz-Cordoba, S. (2007). Validity and applications of citizen volunteer water-quality data: a case from Alabama. Water Resource IMPACT, 9, 16–20.Google Scholar
  18. Dinius, S. H. (1987). Design of an index of water quality. Water Resource Bulletin, 23, 833–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Duc Thang, N., Erhart, A., Le Xuan, H., Le Khanh, T., Thuan Nguyen, X., Nguyen Ngoc, T., et al. (2009). Rapid decrease of malaria morbidity following the introduction of community-based monitoring in a rural area of central Vietnam. Malaria Journal, 8, 3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eksvärd, K., & Rydberg, T. (2010). Integrating participatory learning and action research and systems ecology: a potential for sustainable agriculture transitions. System Practice & Action Research, 23, 467–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fernandez-Gimenez, M. E., Ballard, H. L., & Surtevant, V. E. (2008). Adaptive management and social learning in collaborative and community-based monitoring: a study of five community-based forestry organizations in the western USA. Ecology and Society, 13, 4.Google Scholar
  22. Gallopin, G. C. (1996). Environmental and sustainability indicators and the concept of situational indicators. A systems approach. Environmental Modeling and Assessment, 1, 101–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Giampietro, M., & Mayumi, K. (1997). A dynamic model of socioeconomic systems based on hierarchy theory and its application to sustainability. Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 8, 453–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hjorth, P., & Bagheri, A. (2006). Navigating towards sustainable development: a system dynamics approach. Futures, 38, 74–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Innes, A., Rusak, S. A., Peakeb, B., & Warrenb, D. (2010). Healthy harbour watchers: community-based water quality monitoring and chemistry education in Dunedin. Chemistry in New Zealand, 141–145.Google Scholar
  26. Johnson, K. A., Dana, G., Jordan, N. R., Draeger, K. J., Kapuscinski, A., Schmitt Olabisi, L. K., et al. (2012). Using participatory scenarios to stimulate social learning for collaborative sustainable development. Ecology and Society, 17, 9.Google Scholar
  27. Kay, J., Regier, H., Boyle, M., & Francis, G. (1999). An ecosystem approach for sustainability: addressing the challenge of complexity. Futures, 31, 721–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kelly, K. (1998). A systems approach to identifying decisive information for sustainable development. European Journal of Operational Research, 109, 452–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Loehr, D. (2012). Capitalization by formalization?—challenging the current paradigm of land reforms. Land Use Policy, 29, 837–845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Maass, M., & Burgos, A. (2011). Water dynamics at the ecosystem level in seasonally dry tropical forests. In R. Dirzo, H. Mooney, G. Ceballos, & H. Young (Eds.), Seasonally dry tropical forests: ecology and conservation (pp. 141–156). Washington, DC: Island Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Montoya, H. A., Contreras, S. C., & García, R. M. V. (1997). Estudio Integral de la Calidad del Agua en el Estado de Jalisco (Comisión Nacional del Agua, Gerencia Regional Lerma-Santiago). México: Guadalajara.Google Scholar
  32. Mswia, R., Lewanga, M., Moshiro, C., Whiting, D., Wolfson, L., Hemed, Y., et al. (2003). Community-based monitoring of safe motherhood in the United Republic of Tanzania. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 81, 87–94.Google Scholar
  33. Nare, L., Love, D., & Hoko, Z. (2006). Involvement of stakeholders in the water quality monitoring and surveillance system: the case of Mzingwane Catchment. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 31, 707–712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nicholson, E., Ryan, J., & Hodgkins, D. (2002). Community data—where does the value lie? Assessing confidence limits of community collected water quality data. Water Science and Technology, 45, 193–200.Google Scholar
  35. O’ Neill, R. V. (1989). Perspectives in hierarchy and scale. In J.Roughgarden, R. May, and S. Levin (Eds.) Perspectives in ecological theory (140–156). New Jersey: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Pahl-Wostl, C., Craps, M., Dewuelt, A., MOstert, E., Tabara, D., & Taillieu, T. (2007). Social learning and water resources management. Ecology and Society, 12, 5.Google Scholar
  37. Pesce, F. S., & Wunderlin, A. D. (2000). Use of water quality indices to verify the impact of Córdoba City (Argentina) on Suquia River. Water Research, 34, 2915–2926.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pollock, R. M., & Whitelaw, G. S. (2005). Community based monitoring in support of local sustainability. Local Environment, 10, 211–228.Google Scholar
  39. Recovery Potential Screening. (2013). USA Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved from: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/tmdl/recovery/ on June 3nd, 2013.
  40. Reed, M. S., Evely, C. A., Cundill, G., Fazey, I., Glass, J., Laing, A., Newig, J., Parrish, B., Prell, C., Raymond, C. & Stringer, L.C. (2010). What is social learning? Ecology and Society, 15, r1. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol15/iss4/resp1/
  41. Reutebuch, E., Deutsch, W., & Ruiz-Córdova, S. (2008). Community-based water quality monitoring—data credibility and applications. Alabama Water Watch: Auburn University Alabama. 24 pp.Google Scholar
  42. Savan, B. (2004). Community–university partnerships: linking research and action for sustainable community development. Community Development Journal, 39, 372–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Seely, M., & Moser, P. (2004). Connecting community action and science to combat desertification: evaluation of a process. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 99, 33–55.Google Scholar
  44. Srikhanth, R. (2009). Challenges of sustainable water quality management in rural India. Current Science, 97, 317–325.Google Scholar
  45. Thoms, C. A., & Betters, D. R. (1998). The potential for ecosystem management in Mexico’s forest ejidos. Forest Ecology and Management, 103, 149–157.Google Scholar
  46. Tremblay, M., Furgal, C., Larrivée, C., Annanack, T., Tookalook, P., Qiisik, M., et al. (2008). Climate change in Northern Quebec: adaptation strategies from community-based research. Artic, 61, 27–34.Google Scholar
  47. Van Rijsoort, J., & Jinfeng, Z. (2005). Participatory resource monitoring as a means for promoting social change in Yunnan, China. Biodiversity and Conservation, 14, 2543–2573.Google Scholar
  48. Von Korff, Y., d’Aquino, P., Daniell, A. K., & Bijlsma, R. (2010). Designing participation processes for water management and beyond. Ecology and Society, 15, 1.Google Scholar
  49. Vos, P., Meelis, E., & Keurs, W. J. (2000). A framework for the design of ecological monitoring programs as a tool for environmental and nature management. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 61, 317–344.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Burgos
    • 1
  • Rosaura Páez
    • 1
  • Estela Carmona
    • 1
  • Hilda Rivas
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Investigaciones en Geografía AmbientalUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMorelia, MichoacánMexico

Personalised recommendations