Community-driven local level monitoring: Recording environmental change to support multi-level decision-making in Namibia
Observation and recording of environmental change, drought and desertification have been inextricably connected to dryland livelihoods for millennia and fully recognized since at least 1977 when the UN Conference on Desertification brought the issues to the attention of the scientific community. Most of these environmental changes affect local residents while being identified and monitored by scientists using methods ranging from remote sensing to ground observations or interpreted from data modelling. These approaches generally do not contribute to increased understanding of the phenomena outside the restricted interest groups of scientists, nor to preventing or adapting to changes by the local residents affected. Recently, the importance of local or indigenous knowledge has been recognized. Acquisition of such information has ranged from the extractive approach used by scientists to recognition of the value of indigenous knowledge to involving local people in identifying the questions and collecting and interpreting the information.