Staff at Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO) – University of Copenhagen

English > Staff

What's in a name? Unpacking “participatory” environmental monitoring

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Nerea Turreira Garcia, Jens Friis Lund, Pablo Domínguez, Elena Carrillo-Anglés, Mathias C. Brummer, Priya Duenn, Victoria Reyes-García

While the number of projects that claim to conduct participatory environmental monitoring (PEM) is growing, “participation” continues to be translated into very different practices. We performed a systematic review of PEM projects reported in peer-reviewed journals (n = 146) to explore the main ways in which participation is operationalized and whose interests it serves. We found that local people were mainly involved in PEM projects through data collection, while professionals dominated during the ideation and design of the projects, as well as during the evaluation and use of data. Data collected through PEM was mainly used by professionals and researchers (56% of the cases that provided information on this topic), and less often used by local communities (20%). Our findings indicate that in most PEM projects published in scientific journals, participation is mostly functional in the sense that local peoples’ involvement is framed so that they contribute to the gathering of information in a cost-effective way, while their potential interests in shaping the purpose and format of the project and use of the data appear overlooked. Overall, the actual practice of most PEM projects analyzed appears to foster participation in a very limited sense of the word. Although some studies document strong empowerment effects of PEM programs, many studies are superficial in their documentation of this aspect or they do not involve local people beyond collecting data.
Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Citizen science, Community-based, Empowerment, Locally based, Patrolling

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 196409470