Large-scale Environmental Monitoring by Indigenous Peoples
Changes in vertebrate populations in tropical ecosystems are often understood to occur at large spatial and temporal scales. Understanding these dynamics and developing management responses when they are affected by hunting and land-use change requires research and monitoring at large spatial scales.
This study argues that data collection at such scales can be accomplished only through the participation of locally resident non-scientists. To assess the feasibility of rigorous, scientifically valid data collection under such conditions, this paper describes the design and management of a three-year study of the relationships among socioeconomic factors, hunting behavior, and wildlife population dynamics in a 48,000-square-kilometer, predominantly indigenous region of Amazonia. All of the data in the study were collected by locally recruited and trained indigenous technicians. The data collection methods are described as are the verification systems and how they have been adapted to the culturally influenced data-collection practices of these technicians. The paper proposes protocols and improvements to the methodology employed to guide future large-scale research-and-monitoring projects. These methodologies can be of interest to other community-based forest monitoring projects.
This paper is from researchers of Project Fauna, a community-based monitoring project described in more detail in this case study.