SERVIR: Connecting Space to Village – DRC 2013

Where: Mbandaka & Buya I village, Equateur Province, Democratic Republic of Congo.

When: November 2013

Workshop Title: “Participatory Mapping & Land-Use Survey Using New Technology for REDD+

In order to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) in developing countries, efforts are implemented at the community level to understand how to improve forest management and secure livelihoods. A participatory mapping exercise was organized to elicit participant views on customary land and forest resources as well as a way to provide useful tools and knowledge for forest dependent people to manage them. A demographic and land-use practice survey was deployed using ODK tools provided by the Jane Goodall Institute as part of our collaboration with the NASA-SERVIR project and Google.

2013November_aA three-day capacity-building workshop and exchange of experiences was performed with fifteen Congolese partners on best practices in participatory mapping. Then, a full-day workshop in the village of Buya I, led by postdoctoral fellow Johanne Pelletier with the assistance of Nadine Laporte and Congolese partners, was conducted with 60 village participants and representatives from neighboring communities. The basics of mapping were explained and translated into local language and five interest groups were formed to draw their own village land use maps. Presentations from the groups and deliberations over the relevant information to include on community maps took place using very high resolution imagery provided by the NASA. Over the following weeks, twelve community members were selected and trained by partners to collect GPS points to identify community boundaries, land use types, or other features.

2013November_bCongolese partners and university students were trained on the use of new technologies for survey using ODK tools on e-tablets. The partners and four selected community members were trained on survey methods, including ethical considerations and partnering to conduct demographic and land-use practice surveys with village household representatives. The information generated will be key to informing national REDD+ strategy incorporating ways in which land-use practices and social structure are interlinked with and influence forest cover change.

The workshop activities included:

  • Using advance technologies, including very high resolution imagery and ODK tools on e-tablets, to elicit information from village participants on land and forest use;
  • Training local people to collect geo-referenced information relevant to their land use and management;
  • Combining local knowledge and advancing technologies to provide useful tools for forest management at the community level;
  • Providing detailed understanding of forest and land-use practices at the village level to orient policy decisions at the national level on best approaches for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation

Training material for these activities are available in French; please contact: J. Pelletier


Funding and support were provided by the following institutions:

Funding Agencies: NASA-SERVIR Applied Sciences Program and the Congo Basin Forest Fund

Partners: American Museum of Natural History – Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and the Jane Goodall Institute