Technical guidelines for participatory village mapping exercise

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This document is meant for researchers, field research supervisors and enumerators who would like guidance on developing maps with the participation of local communities. It is part of the Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS REDD+) conducted by CIFOR with funding from multiple donors.
Participatory mapping represents a way of documenting land use and tenure arrangements across regions. It is also a way to learn about local perceptions of the landscape, and local people’s perspectives of forests and land management. These technical guidelines are based on CIFOR’s long-term experience with the use of participatory mapping in research.
In GCS REDD+, the participatory mapping exercise is done at the village level during focus group discussions to learn about village boundaries, tenure, areas under dispute, access, and markets. Base maps are developed from satellite images prior to going to the field. Final maps are digitised so that areas corresponding to the different land uses, land cover, and land tenure categories can be extracted for subsequent analyses. The participatory maps are used to help develop a common understanding of a territory with villagers and other local stakeholders.

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