Participation of local communities in the Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of forest changes has been promoted as a strategy that lowers the cost of MRV and increases their engagement with REDD+. This systematic review of literature assessed the claims of participatory MRV (PMRV) in achieving REDD+ outcomes. We identified 29 PMRV publications that consisted of 20 peer-reviewed and 9 non peer-reviewed publications, with 14 publications being empirically based studies. The evidence supporting PMRV claims was categorized into empirical finding, citation or assumption. Our analysis of the empirical studies showed that PMRV projects were conducted in 17 countries in three tropical continents and across various forest and land tenure types. Most of these projects tested the feasibility of participatory measurement or monitoring, which limited the participation of local communities to data gathering. PMRV claims of providing accurate local biomass measurements and lowering MRV cost were well-supported with empirical evidence. Claims that PMRV supports REDD+ social outcomes that affect local communities directly, such as increased environmental awareness and equity in benefit sharing, were supported with less empirical evidence than REDD+ technical outcomes. This may be due to the difficulties in measuring social outcomes and the slow progress in the development and implementation of REDD+ components outside of experimental research contexts. Although lessons from other monitoring contexts have been used to support PMRV claims, they are only applicable when the enabling conditions can be replicated in REDD+ contexts. There is a need for more empirical evidence to support PMRV claims on achieving REDD+ social outcomes, which may be addressed with more opportunities and rigorous methods for assessing REDD+ social outcomes. Integrating future PMRV studies into local REDD+ implementations may help create those opportunities, while increasing the participation of local communities as local REDD+ stakeholders. Further development and testing of participatory reporting framework are required to integrate PMRV data with the national database. Publication of empirical PMRV studies is encouraged to guide when, where and how PMRV should be implemented.
Topic: forests, biodiversity, forest ecology, land use, remote sensing, systematic review
Publication Year: 2016
Source: PLoS ONE 11(11): e0157826Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.