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.
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