By Finn Danielsen, Arctic BON, Nordic Foundation for Development and Ecology (NORDECO)

October 15, 2021

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Over recent decades, community-based environmental monitoring (often called “co-created citizen science”) has exploded in popularity. A special section in BioScience examines the potential for such efforts and makes recommendations for future directions. In an overview article on the concept, practice, application and results of community-based monitoring, the potential for monitoring by local community members is characterized as the ability to deliver “credible data at local scale independent of external experts and to inform local and national decision making within a short time-frame”. Community-based monitoring efforts also have the potential to empower Indigenous rightsholders and stakeholders, writes Rick Bonney in an introductory viewpoint. The topic of connecting Indigenous Knowledge and citizen science is explored in depth in an overview article by Maria Tengö and collaborators. Noor Johnson and collaborators discuss the role of digital platforms in enabling community-based monitoring, including among Indigenous communities. Key to realizing the potential of community-based monitoring will be linking large-scale, top-down monitoring programs with bottom-up approaches managed or initiated at the community level, write Hajo Eicken and collaborators. Only by linking monitoring programs, they argue, will it be possible to fully realize the value of community-based monitoring and effectively respond to the rapidly changing global environment.

Local community observer
Local community observer

Press release: available here.

The growing promise of community-based monitoring and citizen science