How CIER is Helping Communities Save Ecosystems


Before you can save an ecosystem, you need to know what’s happening to it. If you want to know what’s happening to it, you need to monitor the land, water, plants, and creatures. Who better to collect data about a specific area than the people who live there? At CIER we love supporting and helping to create community-based monitoring programs. We’ve seen first-hand that when Indigenous communities have the knowledge and tools to observe changes on their land, it has positive results not just in their community, but also on the long-term health of local ecosystems. 

One question we’ve been learning how to solve is, how to get the data to the people who need it. Five years ago, we designed an application for windows devices that helps streamline the process. Findings can be entered while out in the field and the database makes it simple for Indigenous governments to store their own data. This year, with funding from the RBC Foundation, we’ve been able to make it even easier: CIER will be offering our tried and tested community-based monitoring software as a smartphone app. 

Having the app accessible via smartphone instead of requiring the purchase of a specialized tablet means that monitoring is cheaper and more accessible to communities across Canada. We hope the ease-of-access encourages more communities to start their own community-based monitoring programs. 

Community-based monitoring, especially in Indigenous communities, can lead to a more inclusive decision-making process. It leads to more engaged citizens and transparency, which in turn generates greater trust in decision-makers. The app helps ensure everyone who needs to be involved can be involved with minimal effort and cost. 

We’re proud to be partnering with the RBC Foundation through Tech For Nature on this project. Learn more about Tech For Nature here.