Forest COMPASS

Forest COMPASS

Man looking up a tree with measuring equipment

Forest COMPASS aims to scale the adoption and impact of community-based forest monitoring (CBFM) worldwide by acting as a research and resource hub for CBFM, and advocating for its inclusion into REDD+ as an effective, equitable, and sustainable management strategy for national forest plans and policies related to REDD+.

An estimated 23% of tropical forests worldwide are owned or designated for use by communities. With so many national and international plans to conserve, restore and enhance these forests, the participation of local communities is essential for these efforts to be efficient, effective, and equitable. International forest agendas such as CBD, FLEGT and REDD+ are already under increasing pressure to be more equitable and some are taking note of community data. However, to get decision-makers on board with CBFM, it is necessary to demonstrate the benefits and potential of this model.

CBFM is increasingly seen as a viable model to generate greater participation and detailed information on forests. It can provide communities with important information for natural resource management, offer capacity-building and livelihood alternatives. It can also be used by governments to monitor the impacts of REDD+ activities and investments, as well as raise the profile of deforestation drivers and increase supply chain transparency.

By working directly in two pilot CBFM projects in Guyana and Brazil, the Forest COMPASS project supported the development of CBFM approaches in each region while contributing to local institutional strengthening and more sustainable land use strategies. The project also aims to improve pathways for integrating community data into national and subnational forest monitoring systems by working across local, national, and international levels.

Donors and partners:

Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)

Brazil: Institute for Climate Change and Regulation of Environmental Services of the State of Acre (IMC), the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), and the Centre of Amazon Workers (CTA)

Guyana:  North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB), the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development (IIC)

Outcomes to date

At the local level, Forest COMPASS worked directly with indigenous and rural communities in Guyana and Brazil, using smartphone technology to monitor forest carbon, drivers of deforestation, natural resource use, well-being and the impact of REDD+ policies. By generating information through participatory monitoring, these projects aim to improve community resource management, support local decision making and engagement with external actors, and inform and guide the development of  REDD+ safeguards and activities.

At the national level, Forest COMPASS has collaborated with a variety of government institutions in Guyana and the state of Acre in Brazil, to see how community collected data can be incorporated into measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems and broader REDD+ implementation strategies.

At the international level, the Forest COMPASS website acts as an open-access collaborative platform for knowledge sharing and capacity building amongst practitioners and policy makers.  It brings together case studies, resources and analysis on CBFM. It also demonstrates why community collected data is essential for ensuring more efficient, effective and equitable forest initiatives, and shows how this critically contributes to international agendas.