Characteristics of participatory monitoring projects and their relationship to decision-making in biological resource management: a review

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The main objective of participatory monitoring is to enable the local population, though lacking formal training, to participate in the systematic collection of information. Participatory monitoring has been increasingly adopted in recent decades as a way of devolving the power to make decisions about natural resource management from the government to more local institutions. However, participatory monitoring efforts are not always successful at translating the information obtained into management or conservation actions. Based on a review of the current literature, we selected 111 cases that applied participatory monitoring of biological resources, to determine the factors that influence the translation of information into decision-making for management. For this, we categorize the cases into two approaches based on their differences regarding conceptual lines: collaborative-learning and evidence-based, and then assessed which one is more successful in the use of information. According to the cases reviewed, information derived from the collaborative-learning approach was more often used in management decision-making. The use of information is also influenced by the degree of local decision-making power, meaning that in those cases where there are initiatives of decentralization for decision-making besides participatory monitoring, it is more possible that the information derived from monitoring is used to strengthen the local initiatives of management and conservation.

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