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International Journal of Zoology
Volume 2012, Article ID 980520, 4 pages
Research Article

Information Flows in Community-Based Monitoring Exercises in the Ecuadorian Amazon

1Faculty of Life Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK
2School of the Environment, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA 98686, USA
3Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales, Quito 17078976, Ecuador

Received 3 February 2012; Accepted 24 May 2012

Academic Editor: Simon Morgan

Copyright © 2012 Johan A. Oldekop et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Community-based monitoring schemes provide alternatives to costly scientific monitoring projects. While evidence shows that local community inhabitants can consistently measure environmental changes, few studies have examined how learned monitoring skills get passed on within communities. Here, we trained members of indigenous Kichwa communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon to measure fern and dung beetle species richness and examined how well they could pass on the information they had learned to other members of their community. We subsequently compared locally gathered species richness data to estimates gathered by trained biologists. Our results provide further evidence that devolved monitoring protocols can provide similar data to that gathered by scientists. In addition, our results show that local inhabitants can effectively pass on learned information to other community members, which is particularly important for the longevity of community-based monitoring initiatives.