National Forest Foundation

Learning Topics

Multiparty Monitoring

Multiparty monitoring requires people with varied backgrounds and interests to work together to better understand and measure project impacts and results. A multiparty effort can develop an agreed-upon, comprehensive list of monitoring issues and questions; assess how well a project is meeting desired outcomes;identify how management can be adapted to improve results; and increase understanding among diverse interests.

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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. Please see the many other links on this page offered as references and examples.

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 how it will be analyzed. 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 key 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.

Posting Monitoring Data on the Web

Many partners of the NFF 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. This is just a short list – please contact us if you are looking for a specific example.

  • The Clackamas Stewardship Partners are working on a variety of monitoring projects on the Mt. Hood National Forest in Washington.
  • The Tushar Allotments Collaborative was 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 offers descriptions of monitoring protocols and data collection sheets.
  • Lake County Resources Initiative engages local high school students in monitoring 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.


Selected Tools & Resources

Multiparty Monitoring & Assessment Guidelines
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 and Stewardship Contracting
Multiparty Monitoring and Stewardship Contracting: A Tool for Adaptive Management is the last in a series of three guidebooks produced by Sustainable Northwest. The purpose of this guidebook is to help readers understand the steps necessary to developing a monitoring program; to identify questions that need to be addressed before beginning a monitoring program; and to provide examples that may be useful for reference.

Timber and Thinning Monitoring Checklist
The Bankhead Liaison Panel, which focuses on the National Forests of Alabama, Bankhead Ranger District, developed this detailed monitoring checklist as an aid to use during timber and thinning projects.

Measuring Results - Developing an Outcome-Based Monitoring Plan with Measurable Indicators and Targets
It is increasingly important to measure the impact of programs and projects, especially those involving collaboration, in order to practice adaptive management and demonstrate and communicate success to stakeholders involved in the collaborative process, the greater community, and potential funders. The purpose of this information sheet is to help collaborative groups develop outcomes and measurable indicators and targets. The companion to this tool is the "Outcome-Indicator Form."

Measuring Results - Outcome-Indicator Form
This form is a companion to the tool titled "Developing an Outcome-Based Monitoring Plan with Measurable Indicators and Targets."

Selected Peer Learning Sessions

Rapid Forest Assessment Peer Learning Session (February 25, 2014)
Multiparty monitoring efforts often rely upon citizen scientists gathering data to help answer a collaborative group’s questions. The challenge can be gathering that data in ways that are consistent, unbiased and repeatable. Restoration scientists involved in the Southwestern Crown of the Continent and Four Forest Restoration Initiative CFLR projects have worked together to develop a new method called the “Rapid Forest Assessment” to help multiparty and citizen monitoring efforts.

Monitoring through Partnerships on National Forests (March 12, 2013)
This webinar focused on how the Forest Service and non-governmental partners are working together to conduct monitoring. Speakers explored the mechanics, as well as the advantages, of working together on monitoring efforts. Examples were highlighted from the National Forest Foundation’s Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences public-private partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. Participants in the partnership-driven monitoring programs on the Tongass, Ozark-St.Francis, and Pike National Forests shared lessons learned and recommendations for others considering a similar approach to monitoring.

Developing Monitoring Questions for Landscape-Scale Restoration Projects (June 21, 2012)
The National Forest Foundation and the newly formed Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) Monitoring Network hosted this peer learning session to discuss how groups are developing monitoring questions for their landscape-scale projects. Participants discussed the CFLRP Monitoring Network and toured its website, and heard from the Southwestern Crown Collaborative about their approach to developing monitoring questions and tying the information gathered back into adaptive management.

Remote Sensing Tools for Landscape Restoration: It's Not Just Searching in the Couch Cushions (November 1, 2012)
This session, hosted by the CFLRP Monitoring Network and the National Forest Foundation, discussed remote sensing tools available for use in landscape-scale restoration efforts.The session reviewed tools and resources available to examine landscape-scale questions and desired conditions.There is a large amount of data and services available, ranging from free and easy to access to very expensive or hard to find.

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