Title: Participatory monitoring of rangelands: challenges and opportunities

Author(s): Zhyldyz Shigaeva
Final project
Year of publication:
Document URL: Link
Supervisors: Thorunn Petursdottir
participatory monitoring, conventional monitoring, common rangelands, stakeholders, Iceland


In recent years there has been a growing recognition among international agencies, scientific communities and land users that the monitoring of rangeland condition should be conducted in a participatory way. The advantage of participatory monitoring is that involvement of multiple stakeholders in the design and implementation of observing, systematizing and interpreting rangeland condition have led to joint decisions on adaptive rangeland management. However, there is little existing documentation of the realization of such an approach. This report is based on qualitative research, where the current rangeland monitoring system in Iceland was analysed and the challenges and opportunities for using participatory monitoring approaches explored. The research showed that the ecological condition of Icelandic rangelands is not systematically monitored nationwide; the monitoring is fragmented and scattered and not providing a comprehensive overview of the rangeland condition. Despite the encouragement for using participatory approaches in land management in Iceland, the understanding and the implementation of such approaches has not been fully adopted. The officials interviewed described participatory monitoring mainly as a tool to prove their own organization’s progress but the sheep farmers’ association representative thought that a holistic rangeland monitoring system can serve as a platform for building up mutual agreement on how to define sustainable grazing utilization of rangeland commons. The key facilitating factor is that idea of participatory monitoring met support, interest and willingness to participate from the grassroots level. The research revealed several factors that might impede the system’s development in the environmental, societal and governance, and institutional contexts. However, the greatest limitations probably did not originate at local levels but rather in the context of governance and institutions.

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