OJF  Vol.5 No.4 , April 2015
Community Monitoring of Forest Carbon Stocks and Safeguards Tracking in Kenya: Design and Implementation Considerations
Abstract: This paper investigates modalities required to design and implement community monitoring of forest carbon stock changes and safeguards implementation in Kenya. General principles and elements were drawn from the UNFCCC REDD+ policy frameworks for developing modalities and procedures for designing community forest monitoring system. The paper utilised policy analysis approach used to derive monitoring goals and objectives by assessing the compatibility of Kenya’s policy and legislative framework with monitoring elements provided in the UNFCCC REDD+ policy mechanism. The elements included monitoring goals, objectives, questions, indicators, and methods and tools. Two goals were identified which included, reduction of forest carbon emissions (ER) and monitoring of multiple social and environmental safeguards (SG). Five ER related objectives were identified to include: forest reference emission levels or forest reference levels, drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, Land use activities, eligible ER actions and estimation of forest emissions. Six objectives guiding SG were identified to include: policy, governance, human rights, socio-economic, biodiversity and environmental concerns. Corresponding questions to the goals and objectives were systematically designed. In turns, indicators, depicting quantitative and qualitative measurements, which best provided answers to questions were identified. The various methods and tools used by communities around the world in providing data and information required to satisfy the indictors were identified through literature review. The review identified four methods and tools that included: Remote Sensing and GIS, GPS survey, smartphone survey and Ground trothing. Smartphone and cloud-based server technology were found to be the recent emergent tools in aiding community monitoring of REDD+ projects. The paper argues that local communities and indigenous peoples have the capability and capacity to monitor and undertake forest carbon monitoring and tracking of implementation of safeguards if supported with relevant training; compensated for the time, labour and knowledge they contribute to the process; provided with feedback and involved decision making process.
Cite this paper: Muchemi, J. , McCall, M. , Wegulo, F. , Kinyanjui, J. , Gichu, A. , Ucakuwun, E. and Nduru, G. (2015) Community Monitoring of Forest Carbon Stocks and Safeguards Tracking in Kenya: Design and Implementation Considerations. Open Journal of Forestry, 5, 457-470. doi: 10.4236/ojf.2015.54040.

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