Monday, February 20, 2012

Integrating local science (Nature News)


Citizen science goes 'extreme'

Researchers push for wider use of community-generated data in science and policy-making.
Pygmys in the Congo map their territory using handheld Global Positioning System devices to track illegal logging and poaching.
In the Congo Basin, Bayaka pygmies patrol their forests with handheld tracking devices. Using the devices to record instances of poaching, industrial roads and illegal logging, they map their landscape, documenting the course of deforestation and harmful development.
The project is part of an emerging field that its champions describe as the 'new wave' of citizen science. With endeavours ranging from air-pollution assessments in Europe to chimpanzee counting in Tanzania, the next generation of citizen science attempts to make communities active stakeholders in research that affects them, and use their work to push forward policy changes. This is one of the main points of focus of the London Citizen Cyberscience Summit being held this week at the Royal Geographical Society and University College London.

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