Multiparty monitoring requires people with varied backgrounds and interests to work together to better understand and measure project efforts and impacts. A multiparty effort can:
- Develop an agreed-upon, comprehensive list of issues to be monitored and identify good questions to ask;
- Assess how well a project is meeting desired outcomes and respond to diverse concerns;
- Identify how management can be adapted to improve results; and
- Increase understanding among diverse interests.
With support from the Forest Service Collaborative Forest Restoration Program and the Ford Foundation, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) facilitated a diverse effort to develop a series of handbooks on multiparty monitoring, written by the Northern Arizona University Ecological Restoration Institute. These handbooks provide guidance in getting started, bringing stakeholders to the table, putting together the monitoring plan, and identifying ecological, social, and economic indicators.
Multiparty Monitoring Plans
In order to be successful, multiparty monitoring groups must identify and agree upon what they will monitor, how data will be collected, and then analyze it together. Often groups jointly create monitoring protocols, though sometimes one or more trusted scientists are called in to create the plan for data collection. While some groups collect their data by sending out teams with balanced representation from the diverse interests involved, others develop objective and repeatable protocols for data collection that are easily collected by anyone in an unbiased manner. Once the protocols are agreed upon, data can be gathered by a subset of the multiparty monitoring group, volunteers or students. Often groups use photo points to show change over time. The point is that the diverse interests involved in the multiparty monitoring effort agree on the plan, data collection protocols, analysis, and follow-up actions to what has been learned.
|Clackamas Stewardship Partners looking at a recently created side channel project for salmon on the Mt. Hood National Forest|
- Northwest Connections, an NFF partner that works on the Flathead National Forest, began coordinating a multiparty monitoring effort on the Holland-Pierce Stewardship Project in 2006. Check out their multiparty monitoring plan, which does a good job of addressing the important questions of who, what, when, where, why, and anticipated costs.
- The Lemhi County Forest Restoration Group, coordinated by Salmon Valley Stewardship, developed this multiparty monitoring plan for the Hughes Creek Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project.
- The Pinchot Partners developed a comprehensive multiparty monitoring protocol for the Cat Creek Stewardship Project that includes a clear description of objectives, indicators, and rationale for the monitoring.
- The Bankhead Liaison Panel, a multiparty monitoring and stewardship group associated with the Bankhead National Forest, offers a data collection checklist for use in quarterly monitoring assessments. The check list includes a variety of indicators and photo point comparisons. Once the data is collected, the Panel discusses any issues observed by the monitoring team.
Posting Monitoring Data on the Web
Many partners of the National Forest Foundation are engaged in multiparty monitoring of projects on their local National Forests and have developed Web sites and protocols that may be helpful to others.
- The Clackamas Stewardship Partners are working on a variety of stewardship monitoring projects on the Mt. Hood National Forest in Washington.
- The Tushar Allotments Collaborative is a two-year effort, started in 2007, to collaboratively resolve resource management disputes on two grazing allotments in the Tushar Range of the Fishlake National Forest in Utah. Their website includes multiple descriptions of monitoring protocols and data collection sheets.
- In 2003, Lake County Resources Initiative established monitoring protocols for restoration activities occurring on the Upper Chewaucan Watershed, which includes both private lands and the Fremont-Winema National Forests.
- The Diablo Trust has developed a centralized monitoring database based on the Holistic Ecosystem Health Indicator, a collaboratively-developed, integrated monitoring framework.