This publication reviews recent experiences in participatory monitoring in tropical forest management, and summarises the concepts and lessons learned. It discusses impacts, challenges, and shortcomings of participatory monitoring and presents a matrix of case studies, methods and tools.
In the past decade, understanding of the importance and role of monitoring in tropical forest management has changed significantly, with local people increasingly working with professionals to develop and implement programmes together. This collaboration changes the dynamic of forest management, with monitoring assuming a central role, by encouraging local people to ask questions about their forest and their forest-based livelihoods, think about change in a systematic way and respond with reasoned decision-making. Participatory monitoring becomes a mechanism that drives learning, adaptation and improvement essential elements for sustainably managing tropical forests. This review therefore draws on cases of participatory monitoring programs in tropical forests throughout the world.
The review has three main sections. The first section introduces concepts and terms. The second section is a synthesis of the lessons learned, organised along two broad themes: planning and implementing participatory monitoring and the main impacts of participatory monitoring. The third section is a matrix table of publications organised by theme: forest management for various objectives, biodiversity conservation and wildlife management, human wellbeing, political processes and institutions, non-timber forest products and ecosystem services. It provides a quick reference guide to specific aspects of participatory monitoring, such as tools, methods and monitoring topics. There are also recommendations for future directions in participatory monitoring.