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Special Issue "The Potential Role for Community Monitoring in MRV and in Benefit Sharing in REDD+"

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A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Arturo Balderas Torres

Centro de Investigaciones en Geografía Ambiental, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Antigua carretera a Pátzcuaro 8701, CP 58190 Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico; CSTM, Twente Centre for Studies in Technology and Sustainable Development, University of Twente, Postbus 217, Enschede, 7500 AE, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Valuation of Environmental Services and Rural Development; Climate change mitigation; REDD+; Environmental Engineering; Corporate Environmental Management Systems.
Guest Editor
Dr. Margaret Skutsch

Centro de Investigaciones en Geografía Ambiental, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Antigua carretera a Pátzcuaro 8701, CP 58190 Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico; CSTM, Twente Centre for Studies in Technology and Sustainable Development, University of Twente, Postbus 217, Enschede, 7500 AE, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +31 53 4893545
Interests: Community forest management; Climate change policy (particularly as regards REDD); Rural energy technology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Developing countries interested in REDD+ under the UNFCCC have been requested to prepare a national forest monitoring system (NFMS) and a system to monitor, report and verify implementation (MRV). They have also been requested to engage local communities and indigenous groups as critical stakeholders in this process. The NFMS should be consistent with national inventories of emissions and removals of greenhouse gases. These inventories are, however, usually prepared using national level information with low geographical resolution and without the participation of local communities or other forest owners/managers. However, it has been shown that members of rural forest communities can develop the skills to monitor and measure levels of carbon stock in their forests and changes in these levels over time. If this information could be included and tracked from the local to regional and national levels, this might help to design transparent mechanisms for the assessment of REDD+ implementation, and possibly even for benefit sharing. The objective of this Special Issue is to discuss and explore the social, technical and political implications and potential of including community-based monitoring in MRV systems and benefit-sharing schemes in REDD+.

Dr. Arturo Balderas Torres
Dr. Margaret Skutsch
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs).

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Keywords

  • community based monitoring
  • benefit sharing
  • REDD+
  • monitoring, reporting and verification
  • results-based financing
  • forest inventories


Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Special Issue: The Potential Role for Community Monitoring in MRV and in Benefit Sharing in REDD+
Forests 2015, 6(1), 244-251; doi:10.3390/f6010244
Received: 4 January 2015 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 15 January 2015
PDF Full-text (200 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the early design of activities to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the need to engage local communities and indigenous groups in monitoring and reporting has been
[...] Read more.
Since the early design of activities to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the need to engage local communities and indigenous groups in monitoring and reporting has been recognized. REDD+ has advanced under the UNFCCC negotiations, but most countries still need to define formally what the role of communities in their national monitoring systems will be. Previous research and experiences have shown that local communities can effectively contribute in the monitoring of natural resources. This editorial introduces a Special Issue of Forests which discusses the implications of and potential for including community based monitoring (CBM) in monitoring and benefit-sharing systems in REDD+. It outlines the main points of the nine contributions to the Special Issue which cover a wide geographical area and report on projects and research which engages more than 150 communities from eight different countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The editorial summarizes how the articles and reports build further understanding of the potential of CBM to contribute to the implementation, monitoring and distribution of benefits in REDD+. It also discusses the results of an on-going opinion survey on issues related to CBM and its relation to benefit sharing, which indicates that there is still disagreement on a number of key elements. Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle Integrating CBM into Land-Use Based Mitigation Actions Implemented by Local Communities
Forests 2014, 5(12), 3295-3326; doi:10.3390/f5123295
Received: 14 August 2014 / Revised: 3 December 2014 / Accepted: 8 December 2014 / Published: 18 December 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (456 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In 2009, the conference of the parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change recognized the need to engage communities and indigenous groups into the systems to monitor, report and verify the results of REDD+. Since then, many countries have started
[...] Read more.
In 2009, the conference of the parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change recognized the need to engage communities and indigenous groups into the systems to monitor, report and verify the results of REDD+. Since then, many countries have started to prepare for REDD+ implementation. This article reviews early experiences under development in 11 projects financed by the Alliance Mexico REDD+ located in four Early Action Areas to identify the potential integration of Community Based Monitoring (CBM). The evaluation of the projects is made based on a multi-criteria analysis which considers the potential to produce information relevant for national monitoring systems and the prospects for sustained monitoring practices over time. Results indicate there are challenges to harmonizing monitoring practices and protocols between projects since activities proposed differ greatly from one project to another. Technical specifications for integrating local data into national systems are thus required. The results of these projects can help to identify best practices for planning and implementing REDD+. Findings indicate that in general, resources and capacities to gather, analyse and report information as part of CBM systems are in place in the projects, but usually these reside with non-local experts (i.e., NGOs and Academia); however, there are notable examples where these capacities reside in the communities. If national forest monitoring systems are geared to include information gathered through locally-driven processes REDD+ should promote activities that produce local benefits, but countries would need to build local capacities for managing and monitoring natural resources and would also need to create agreements for sharing and using local data. Otherwise, national systems may need to rely on monitoring practices external to communities, which depend on the continued availability of external financial resources. Full article
Open AccessArticle Combining Satellite Data and Community-Based Observations for Forest Monitoring
Forests 2014, 5(10), 2464-2489; doi:10.3390/f5102464
Received: 5 May 2014 / Revised: 20 September 2014 / Accepted: 6 October 2014 / Published: 14 October 2014
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (28246 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Within the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) framework, the involvement of local communities in national forest monitoring activities has the potential to enhance monitoring efficiency at lower costs while simultaneously promoting transparency and better forest management. We assessed the consistency of
[...] Read more.
Within the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) framework, the involvement of local communities in national forest monitoring activities has the potential to enhance monitoring efficiency at lower costs while simultaneously promoting transparency and better forest management. We assessed the consistency of forest monitoring data (mostly activity data related to forest change) collected by local experts in the UNESCO Kafa Biosphere Reserve, Ethiopia. Professional ground measurements and high resolution satellite images were used as validation data to assess over 700 forest change observations collected by the local experts. Furthermore, we examined the complementary use of local datasets and remote sensing by assessing spatial, temporal and thematic data quality factors. Based on this complementarity, we propose a framework to integrate local expert monitoring data with satellite-based monitoring data into a National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) in support of REDD+ Measuring, Reporting and Verifying (MRV) and near real-time forest change monitoring. Full article
Open AccessArticle Participating in REDD+ Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (PMRV): Opportunities for Local People?
Forests 2014, 5(8), 1855-1878; doi:10.3390/f5081855
Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 6 June 2014 / Accepted: 17 July 2014 / Published: 31 July 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (20705 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Assessing forest changes is the baseline requirement for successful forest management. Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) are three essential components for achieving such assessments. Community participation in resource monitoring and management is increasingly seen as a scientifically efficient, cost-effective, and equitable way to
[...] Read more.
Assessing forest changes is the baseline requirement for successful forest management. Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) are three essential components for achieving such assessments. Community participation in resource monitoring and management is increasingly seen as a scientifically efficient, cost-effective, and equitable way to employ such practices, particularly in the context of REDD+. We developed a multidisciplinary approach to study the feasibility of Participatory MRV (PMRV) across three sites along a forest degradation gradient in Indonesia. We looked at both the local and national level needs of MRV. Our approach combines: (1) social research focusing on the enabling conditions for local participation in MRV; (2) governance analyses of existing MRV systems in forestry and health; and (3) remote sensing work comparing overlaps and gaps between satellite imagery and local assessments of forest changes. We considered in our approach the possible multiple benefits of PMRV (carbon mitigation, biodiversity conservation, livelihood security). Our study helped to identify the multiple stakeholders (communities, NGOs and governments) and what the levels of governance should be to make PMRV design and implementation feasible and sustainable. Full article
Open AccessArticle Community Monitoring of Carbon Stocks for REDD+: Does Accuracy and Cost Change over Time?
Forests 2014, 5(8), 1834-1854; doi:10.3390/f5081834
Received: 8 May 2014 / Revised: 14 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 July 2014 / Published: 30 July 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1107 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) is a potentially powerful international policy mechanism that many tropical countries are working towards
[...] Read more.
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) is a potentially powerful international policy mechanism that many tropical countries are working towards implementing. Thus far, limited practical consideration has been paid to local rights to forests and forest resources in REDD+ readiness programs, beyond noting the importance of these issues. Previous studies have shown that community members can reliably and cost-effectively monitor forest biomass. At the same time, this can improve local ownership and forge important links between monitoring activities and local decision-making. Existing studies have, however, been static assessments of biomass at one point in time. REDD+ programs will require repeated surveys of biomass over extended time frames. Here, we examine trends in accuracy and costs of local forest monitoring over time. We analyse repeated measurements by community members and professional foresters of 289 plots over two years in four countries in Southeast Asia. This shows, for the first time, that with repeated measurements community members’ biomass measurements become increasingly accurate and costs decline. These findings provide additional support to available evidence that community members can play a strong role in monitoring forest biomass in the local implementation of REDD+. Full article
Open AccessArticle Potential for Integrating Community-Based Monitoring into REDD+
Forests 2014, 5(8), 1815-1833; doi:10.3390/f5081815
Received: 10 April 2014 / Revised: 3 July 2014 / Accepted: 10 July 2014 / Published: 28 July 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (263 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Countries at the United Nations Framework on the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have decided to engage local communities and indigenous groups into the activities for the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of the program to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation
[...] Read more.
Countries at the United Nations Framework on the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have decided to engage local communities and indigenous groups into the activities for the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of the program to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and increase carbon removals (REDD+). Previous research and projects have shown that communities can produce reliable data on forest area and carbon estimates through field measurements. The objective of this article is to describe the framework that is being created for REDD+ under the UNFCCC to identify the potential inclusion of local information produced through community-based monitoring (CBM) into monitoring systems for REDD+. National systems could use different sources of information from CBM: first, local information can be produced as part of public programs by increasing sample size of national or regional inventories; second, government can collect information to produce carbon estimates from on-going management practices implemented at local level driven by access to local direct benefits (e.g., forest management plans, watershed conservation); third, national data systems could include information from projects participating in carbon markets and other certification schemes; and finally information will be produced as part of the activities associated to the implementation of social and environmental safeguards. Locally generated data on carbon and areas under different forms of management can be dovetailed into national systems and be used to describe management practices, complement existing information or replace Tier 1/2 values with more detailed local data produced by CBM. Full article
Open AccessArticle Options for a National Framework for Benefit Distribution and Their Relation to Community-Based and National REDD+ Monitoring
Forests 2014, 5(7), 1596-1617; doi:10.3390/f5071596
Received: 2 April 2014 / Revised: 17 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 8 July 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (339 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Monitoring is a central element in the implementation of national REDD+ and may be essential in providing the data needed to support benefit distribution. We discuss the options for benefit sharing systems in terms of technical feasibility and political acceptability in respect of
[...] Read more.
Monitoring is a central element in the implementation of national REDD+ and may be essential in providing the data needed to support benefit distribution. We discuss the options for benefit sharing systems in terms of technical feasibility and political acceptability in respect of equity considerations, and the kind of data that would be needed for the different options. We contrast output-based distribution systems, in which rewards are distributed according to performance measured in terms of carbon impacts, with input-based systems in which performance is measured in term of compliance with prescribed REDD+ activities. Output-based systems, which would require regular community carbon inventories to produce Tier 3 data locally, face various challenges particularly for the case of assessing avoided deforestation, and they may not be perceived as equitable. Input-based systems would require data on activities undertaken rather than change in stocks; this information could come from community-acquired data. We also consider how community monitored data could support national forest monitoring systems and the further development of national REDD+. Full article
Open AccessArticle Small Drones for Community-Based Forest Monitoring: An Assessment of Their Feasibility and Potential in Tropical Areas
Forests 2014, 5(6), 1481-1507; doi:10.3390/f5061481
Received: 11 February 2014 / Revised: 6 June 2014 / Accepted: 16 June 2014 / Published: 24 June 2014
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (639 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Data gathered through community-based forest monitoring (CBFM) programs may be as accurate as those gathered by professional scientists, but acquired at a much lower cost and capable of providing more detailed data about the occurrence, extent and drivers of forest loss, degradation and
[...] Read more.
Data gathered through community-based forest monitoring (CBFM) programs may be as accurate as those gathered by professional scientists, but acquired at a much lower cost and capable of providing more detailed data about the occurrence, extent and drivers of forest loss, degradation and regrowth at the community scale. In addition, CBFM enables greater survey repeatability. Therefore, CBFM should be a fundamental component of national forest monitoring systems and programs to measure, report and verify (MRV) REDD+ activities. To contribute to the development of more effective approaches to CBFM, in this paper we assess: (1) the feasibility of using small, low-cost drones (i.e., remotely piloted aerial vehicles) in CBFM programs; (2) their potential advantages and disadvantages for communities, partner organizations and forest data end-users; and (3) to what extent their utilization, coupled with ground surveys and local ecological knowledge, would improve tropical forest monitoring. To do so, we reviewed the existing literature regarding environmental applications of drones, including forest monitoring, and drew on our own firsthand experience flying small drones to map and monitor tropical forests and training people to operate them. We believe that the utilization of small drones can enhance CBFM and that this approach is feasible in many locations throughout the tropics if some degree of external assistance and funding is provided to communities. We suggest that the use of small drones can help tropical communities to better manage and conserve their forests whilst benefiting partner organizations, governments and forest data end-users, particularly those engaged in forestry, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation projects such as REDD+. Full article

Other

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Open AccessCase Report Case Study Report: Community-Based Monitoring Systems for REDD+ in Guyana
Forests 2015, 6(1), 133-156; doi:10.3390/f6010133
Received: 4 April 2014 / Accepted: 26 December 2014 / Published: 6 January 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2204 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A fundamental component of initiatives to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+); will be the development of robust and cost-effective measuring, reporting, and verification (MRV) instruments for national forest monitoring and safeguard information systems. It is increasingly recognized that community-based monitoring
[...] Read more.
A fundamental component of initiatives to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+); will be the development of robust and cost-effective measuring, reporting, and verification (MRV) instruments for national forest monitoring and safeguard information systems. It is increasingly recognized that community-based monitoring (CBM) offers a positive model for greater participation and engagement of indigenous and forest-dependent communities within a REDD+ framework. Yet plans for CBM within REDD+ MRV systems remain limited, and there are currently relatively few concrete examples of CBM informing national forest monitoring systems. This paper outlines findings from a community MRV project with Amerindian communities in the North Rupununi, Guyana; and demonstrates that a CBM approach can enable key REDD+ requirements: in understanding local deforestation drivers and measuring carbon stocks; and for providing information on safeguards through social and environmental assessments. In addition, the authors discuss community capacity-building on smartphone technology for monitoring as a challenging yet viable pathway for scaling the use and adoption of indigenous knowledge and local skills for REDD+ programs. Full article
Open AccessCase Report Case Study Report: REDD+ Pilot Project in Community Forests in Three Watersheds of Nepal
Forests 2014, 5(10), 2425-2439; doi:10.3390/f5102425
Received: 27 January 2014 / Revised: 1 September 2014 / Accepted: 24 September 2014 / Published: 30 September 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1322 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is an international climate policy instrument that is expected to tap into the large mitigation potential for conservation and better management of the world’s forests through financial flows from developed to developing countries. This paper
[...] Read more.
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is an international climate policy instrument that is expected to tap into the large mitigation potential for conservation and better management of the world’s forests through financial flows from developed to developing countries. This paper describes the results and lessons learned from a pioneering REDD+ pilot project in Nepal, which is based on a community forest management approach and which was implemented from 2009–2013 with support from NORAD’s Climate and Forest Initiative. The major focus of the project was to develop and demonstrate an innovative benefit-sharing mechanism for REDD+ incentives, as well as institutionally and socially inclusive approaches to local forest governance. The paper illustrates how community-based monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) and performance-based payments for forest management can be implemented. The lessons on REDD+ benefit sharing from this demonstration project could provide insights to other countries which are starting to engage in REDD+, in particular in South Asia. Full article
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