This study looked at sources of error in tree biomass measurements conducted by community monitors, and determined the effect of these errors on biomass estimates. It also explored the potential of local ecological knowledge to assess wood density and identify trees. It found that community monitors measured tree girth accurately, but with some large errors in girth measurements of large and odd-shaped trees. Monitors with experience from the logging industry performed better than those without previous experience. Only experienced monitors were able to discriminate trees with low wood densities. Local ecological knowledge did not allow consistent tree identification across monitors.
It concludes that REDD+ programmes may benefit from the systematic training of local monitors in tree measurement, with special attention given to large and odd-shaped trees. A better understanding of traditional classification systems and concepts is required for local tree identifications and wood density estimates to become useful in monitoring of biomass and tree diversity.