Measure What Truly Matters
The leaders stressed the importance of having measures to track progress toward overall goals and as indicators to guide adaptive management over time. Objective monitoring is a critical component of effective long-term resource management, though many projects operate for years with a monitoring plan that is incomplete or not fully implemented. Recognizing that community-based conservation is usually constrained by limited resources, leaders stressed that measures do not need to be overly complex. Simply identify and monitor the bare minimum to be able to know if something is working or not working.
Monitoring is another opportunity to strengthen a project by incorporating community priorities. As suggested earlier, focusing conservation efforts on a totem or aumakua species or a species that provides food and livelihoods can easily elicit greater community support, and ongoing monitoring of these types of species can be integrated into the daily lives of fishermen. There is extensive technical guidance available through the Open Standards to help teams define meaningful measures and create practical monitoring and evaluation plans.