Resource development projects typically result in monitoring programs that fail to fully consider the values and participation of surrounding communities. Also, monitoring protocols for single environmental values can be insufficient for addressing the cumulative impacts of resource development. Community-based environmental monitoring (CBEM) has emerged as a way to meaningfully include local citizens in the decision-making process and assessment of the development of natural resources. Our research explored how to develop effective and sustainable CBEM. Interviews were conducted with staff from 15 CBEM programs established across Canada to identify criteria of what constitutes effective CBEM. Results demonstrate that CBEM offers an effective, locally adapted, and culturally applicable approach to facilitate community participation in natural resource management and to track environmental change. Benefits of CBEM include: locally relevant monitoring protocols, inclusion of cumulative impacts, better informed decision-making, and increased awareness and collaboration amongst community, governments, and proponents. Challenges associated with CBEM are cost, capacity, longevity, distribution of results, and establishing credibility. This research validates the use of CBEM for improving resource management.
Environmental Management – Springer Journals
Published: May 11, 2017
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