We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

A new mobile software may help local communities in the region of Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, manage their natural resources and monitor logging activities in the forest.

The Extreme Citizen Science team at University College London travelled across the country to test the new software in the field, meet people who live in the forest and gather feedback.

Commercial logging can have an impact on farming communities, because it is difficult for the logging companies to keep track of local natural resources and respect them. The international regulations on sustainable forestry are very detailed, but law enforcement remains an issue.The new app, designed for people who are not familiar with complex technology, allows farmers to collect information on their livelihoods, to record negotiations with logging company representatives and assess potential damage from industrial activity on their territory.

Users can describe objects and social interactions by clicking on specific icons, but they can also record voices and take pictures.  When breaches of the regulations are reported, local NGOs intervene in support of the communities.

The projects still needs to overcome a number of technical challenges — for example the transmission of collected data in an environment where wireless connectivity is very poor. More funding is also needed to implement the idea on a large scale.

But the pilot project has been successful and people welcomed the ExCiteS team with interest. When asked if they would take part in future citizen science projects, the answer was an enthusiastic “yes”.