Information Flows in Community-Based Monitoring Exercises in the Ecuadorian Amazon

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Abstract: Community-based monitoring schemes provide alternatives to costly scientific monitoring projects. While evidence shows that local community inhabitants can consistently measure environmental changes, few studies have examined how learned monitoring skills get passed on within communities. Here, we trained members of indigenous Kichwa communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon to measure fern and dung beetle species richness and examined how well they could pass on the information they had learned to other members of their community. We subsequently compared locally gathered species richness data to estimates gathered by trained biologists. Our results provide further evidence that devolved monitoring protocols can provide similar data to that gathered by scientists. In addition, our results show that local inhabitants can effectively pass on learned information to other community members, which is particularly important for the longevity of community-based monitoring initiatives.

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