What is CBM?


Word cloud from a state-wide CBM workshop session hosted by Alaska Sea Grant (from Sigman, ed. 2014)

Because Community-based Monitoring (CBM) lacks a formal accepted definition in the research literature, we turn to Wikipedia:

CBM is a form of public oversight, ideally driven by local information needs and community values to contribute to the management of natural resources

By participating in the collection of data, CBM provides opportunities for community members to engage with resource management and scientific organizations in the long-term stewardship of the resources their communities depend upon for their livelihoods.

Is CBM the same as citizen science?

SALMoN considers citizen science as just one potential component of community-based monitoring. Citizen science is the conduct of scientific studies primarily by non-scientists or amateurs, which is too narrow of a definition to cover the breadth of our activities.

Who does CBM?

For SALMoN, participants span the spectrum from minimally-trained volunteers to professional ecologists. Professionals may or may not be paid for the work. When a project primarily involves volunteers, it is often students (middle school through post-graduate). However, the primary distinction for SALMoN projects is that they are inspired from the ground up, by the communities most effected by the issue being studied or monitored.

Is CBM science?

Yes. But the field and data management protocols need to fit the audience (the people that will use the data). We consider each project on a “continuum of rigor” concept as shown below. This concept is not meant to assign each project to a specific location on the continuum, but more to ensure that 1) each of the issues in the center column below are addressed so that the work is well-represented, and 2) that SALMoN evaluates our capacity to take on the project.