Wednesday, June 29, 2011 | 12:39 PM
Last week, the Google Earth Outreach and Google.org teams, in collaboration with the Global Canopy Programme, hosted partners from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for the first gathering of the Community Forest Monitoring Working Group. The goals of the working group are to provide a platform for groups engaged in community forest monitoring activities - across continents - to share knowledge and experience. Equally important is for these groups to provide recommendations for the development of tools, methodologies, and common protocols. For example, the Surui tribe in the Brazilian Amazon is using modern technology to implement their community’s Surui Carbon Project.
This effort isn't isolated, as many NGOs and stakeholders support community-based approaches to forest monitoring for their efficiency, cultural relevance, and reliability. Community Forest Monitoring will play a role in the United Nations’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) effort which aims to incentivize developing countries to adopt a low-emission path to development. In thinking about best methods for data collection, this working group is tackling a host of data collection issues including usability, security, accountability, cultural relevance, and scalability.