Monitoring of natural resources and their management is a key element for effective decision-making in constantly changing and uncertain situations. Monitoring can reduce risks, increase transparency and accountability, enhance learning, and improve the successful implementation of activities. It helps ensure that changes to management approaches come from learning and reflection instead of hasty reactions or unilateral decisions.
Involving local communities in monitoring initiatives makes the process more participatory and contextually relevant, less dependent on external inputs, simpler and usually less expensive. Participatory monitoring initiatives, particularly the ones that are community driven, can increase the sense of ownership towards the management of natural resources and favour the development of adaptive management strategies by facilitating discussion, participation and learning within local communities.
This guide is designed to help facilitators develop community-based monitoring initiatives for forest biodiversity by providing a series of steps, recommendations and examples to guide the process. While the guide applies to forest biodiversity, similar approaches can be used to monitor other aspects of natural-resource management. The guide includes tips on using participatory tools for the collection of biodiversity data and insights on how to encourage the participation of local actors across social groups in decision-making processes that affect forest biodiversity resources in their communities and surrounding landscapes.