In a dr. scient. (DSc) dissertation defended at University of Copenhagen recently, biologist Finn Danielsen from Nordisk Fond for Miljø og Udvikling tells about a ‘game changer’ in the area of research tools. He believes that it will be an advantage, both for the environment and for the climate, if increased use is made of the multiple ways of observing the environment by citizens and community members who are not necessarily professional scientists.

Community members can participate in observing through a broad range of approaches, from self-monitoring of harvests by local resource users themselves, to censuses by local government staff, or inventories by amateur naturalists. In all of these approaches, the observing of the environment is carried out at a local scale, and by individuals with no or only limited formal science training.

Community involvement in observing the environment can also help build capacity and cooperation between local people and outside authorities and can thereby stimulate local action and result in rapid management interventions.

“If we are to benefit, and not only suffer, from the changes in distribution of species that are happening, we have to establish systems which can rapidly detect and respond to those changes,” says Finn Danielsen. And he continues: “Combining community approaches to observing with scientist-executed approaches is therefore critically important in the Arctic today.”

Community involvement in observing can also reinforce the consolidation of existing livelihoods through strengthening community-based resource management systems.

Read more here:

and see the doctoral defence here: