Community-based management strategies for biocultural diversity conservation

How we work

The COMBIOSERVE consortium is a collaboration between communities, civil society organisations and research institutions operating in three case study areas: Mexico, Brazil, and Bolivia. The consortium will develop a toolkit of innovative and diverse research methods for assessing the effectiveness of community-based management strategies. It will explore the possibilities of coenquiry, by adapting relevant and applicable research methods and approaches to produce innovative community-based participatory research protocols.





Wherever possible, community researchers will help develop and apply a diversity of social and biological research methods. In these cases, data collection and analysis will be carried out in strict collaboration between these researchers, community-based organisations and scientists from the European and Latin American institutions. These participatory approaches will:


  • ensure that project activities are fully community-owned processes;
  • secure effectiveness and long-term monitoring of community-based conservation initiatives; and
  • promote knowledge transfer.



The research component of the project is subdivided into five Work Packages.


Work Package 2: Biological Diversity Analysis and its Implementation for Community-based Monitoring

Lead institution: Instituto de Ecología, A.C. (Mexico).


Using a co-enquiry approach, this element of the research identifies the key biological resources and ecological processes that are important in assessing the success of community conservation initatives at each field site. It collaborates with local researchers to establish community-based monitoring of biological resources and ecological processes deemed important by the communities themselves. Read more.


Work Package 3: Impacts of Change in Land Use and Traditional Knowledge on Natural Resource Management

Lead institution: Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana (Brazil).


Using a co-enquiry approach, this work package empirically assesses land use change through analysis of satellite images, GIS modelling and collaborative participatory cultural mapping. Drawing on interactive modes of documenting local landscape classifications, cosmovisions and perceptions of land use change, it elucidates the communities' own criteria for assessing the success of local conservation initiatives at each field site. Read more.


Work Package 4: Conditions and Threats for Community-based Natural Resource Management

Lead institution: Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).


This work package is concerned with the interface between the community and its wider institutional and socio-economic environment and how this influences cooperation at a community scale. The research assesses both the relationship of the community with formal and informal governance actors (both governmental and non-governmental) and the impact this has on the willingness and capacity of the community to self-enforce sustainable resource use. Read more.


Work Package 5: Conservation for Resilient and Adaptive Livelihoods

Lead institution: Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain).


This element of the research analyses the dependence of community livelihoods on natural resources and ecosystem services, while examining their historical and present adaptive capacity to multiple stressors. It also explores how individual and collective adaptiveness and resilience can vary in relation to different conservation and policy scenarios. It examines the role that community-based conservation can play in enhancing individual and household adaptive capacity and socio-ecological resilience in the face of changing economic, social, and environmental conditions. Read more.


Work Package 6: Community-based Research, Mutual Learning and Participatory Dissemination

Lead institution: Global Diversity Foundation (UK).


This work package works to promote co-enquiry as a preferred mode of interaction between communities, civil society and research organisations, within the COMBIOSERVE consortium and beyond. It guides community-based research. This approach is being developed in the project through the design and adaptation of community protocols and tools for ecological, social and ethnoecological research. Methods from Work Packages 2-5 will be selected and adapted - in strict collaboration with community researchers themselves - for use in community-led research and co-enquiry on the topic of community-based conservation and biocultural diversity management. Read more.