REES Brown Bag Seminar – Brenda Parlee

Date(s) - 20/05/2021
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm

One-Size Does Not Fit All – A Networked Approach to Community-Based Monitoring in Large River Basins

This event has concluded but you may watch the video below.

Monitoring methods based on Indigenous knowledge have the potential to contribute to our understanding of large watersheds.  Research in large, complex, and dynamic ecosystems suggests a participatory approach to monitoring – that builds on the diverse knowledges, practices, and beliefs of local people – can yield more meaningful outcomes than a “one-size-fits-all” approach.  Here we share the results of 12 community based, participatory monitoring projects lead by Indigenous governments and organizations in the Mackenzie River Basin (2015 – 2018).  Specifically, we present and compare the indicators and monitoring methods developed by each of these community-based cases to demonstrate the specificity of place, culture, and context.  A scalar analysis of these results suggests that the combination of core (common) indicators used across the basin, coupled with others that are meaningful at local level, create a methodological  bricolage – a mix of tools, methods and rules-in-use that are fit together.   Our findings, along with those of sister projects in two other major watersheds (Amazon, Mekong), confront assumptions that Indigenous-led community-based monitoring efforts are too local to offer insights about large-scale systems.  In summary, a networked approach to community-based monitoring that can simultaneously engage with local and watershed-level questions of social and ecological change can address gaps in knowledge.  Such an approach can create both practices and outcomes that are useful to local peoples as well as to those engaged in basin-wide governance.