Assessing participatory photography as a method to understand local perspectives on environment and development in northern Lao PDR

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We adapt participatory photography as a tool for engaging local stakeholders and for incorporating local knowledge, preferences, and values into natural resources planning and management. Participatory photography workshops were organized in six villages in Lao PDR, as a step toward creating an indicators-based livelihoods monitoring tool, as part of a landscape-scale forest management project. We describe the method as we applied it, briefly summarize the findings from the workshops, and assess the method based on our experience, with reference to Lynam et al.'s (2007) assessment of participatory methods. Participants communicated the importance of agriculture, livestock, and natural resources as mainstays of their livelihoods strategies and identified urgent needs in areas of transportation infrastructure, education, housing, and health care. Their photographs suggested practical indicators for a livelihoods monitoring tool. Participatory photography proved effective, met our purpose well, and compares favorably with other participatory methods.

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    Forests, Trees and Livelihoods 21(3): 145-157

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    Belcher, B.; Roberts, M.


    Lao People's Democratic Republic


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