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Tackling the motivation to monitor: success and sustainability of a participatory monitoring program

Navinder J. Singh, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Kjell Danell
Lars Edenius
Göran Ericsson


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Monitoring of species and their ecosystem attributes is a fundamental requirement in applied ecology and conservation. However, landscape scale monitoring requires an immense effort and commitment, especially when species have a wide distribution or are migratory in nature. Participatory monitoring, whereby local communities are engaged, is increasingly being proposed to address landscape scale monitoring. Its implementation is met with many challenges related to finances, motivation of the local people, lack of trained manpower, and nondirect legal use of the species in question. It is of interest to determine what makes a participatory monitoring program interesting for locals to ensure their long term engagement. Using the unique 26-year program of hunters’ observations of moose (Alces alces) in Sweden as a case study, we present the evolution of this highly successful participatory monitoring program and show that tackling the motivation to monitor, early involvement of local NGOs, social activities revolving around use of the resource, the biology and economic value of the species, and technical and practical aspects related to the monitoring, together create a successful participatory monitoring program. When users benefit directly from the resource, participate in conservation/management decision making, socialize with other participants, and get rewards for their commitment and effective monitoring, participatory monitoring schemes can then become rewarding and sustainable.

Key words

biology of the species; citizen science; cost-effectiveness; efficiency; hunter observations; migratory species; moose; social activities; ungulates

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087