Introduction to Forest Monitoring Tools for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

In this self-paced course you will gain basic information about  popular forest mapping and monitoring tools and understand how they can help Indigenous Peoples and local communities better manage their lands, territories and resources.

Start date: To be announced
 Course type: Self-paced course
 Languages: English, Portuguese
 Estimated effort: 3-5 hours per module
Duration: 6 modules
Partners: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), NASA’s Applied Remote Sensing Training Program (ARSET)

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Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and local communities (LCs) are the guardians and the largest shareholders of the world’s remaining biodiversity. IPs and LCs play a pivotal role in conserving and monitoring biodiversity, which is intertwined with their livelihoods and food security. IPs have managed territories of these biodiverse landscapes over the years. Yet their rights and access to these lands continue to be violated worldwide. IPs and LCs are still being displaced today, their forest tenure rights are violated, and their role as custodians of biodiversity and nature is undermined. 

There is an abundance of spatial data, tools, and resources available to help protect, monitor, and manage forests worldwide. However, these resources are often not accessible to the IP and LCs who need them most. This course will support frontline Indigenous communities in mapping, monitoring, and managing community forests by providing introductory guidance on the use of existing forest mapping and monitoring tools, outlining their advantages and disadvantages, and guiding participants to select the tools that are optimal for their goals.

Course highlights and outcomes

  • Understand the basic features of and compare most popular open-course forest mapping and monitoring tools 
  • Join a community-of-practice working on monitoring and managing community lands and resources
  • Explore rich learning materials, diving into detailed content based on your needs
  • Learn how to select the most appropriate forest mapping and monitoring tools for your context
  • Receive a certificate of completion from the course partners

Learning objectives

By the time you complete the course, you will be able to understand:

  • The role of IPs and LCs in forest protection and management 
  • The basic features and applications of most popular open-course forest monitoring tools 
  • The importance of data governance, including data ownership, safety, and sovereignty
  • Ways of using spatial data for advocacy

Course topics

The course will cover the following topics: 

  • Module 1: Introduction to Indigenous People’s Role and Rights in Forest Stewardship 
  • Module 2: Basics of Forest Mapping and Monitoring
  • Module 3: Mapping Tools and Resources
  • Module 4: Data Governance 
  • Module 5: Data for Advocacy
  • Module 6: Key Takeaways


Click “Enroll” to register for the course. When you register for the course, you will be added to the course mailing list. When the course becomes available, you will receive an email from the course organizers with an invitation to start learning.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact the Learning for Nature team at

Pre-course survey

To make your learning experience more focused and engaged, we invite you to fill out a short pre-course survey

Your inputs will allow us to customize the information presented in the course and co-create the course content with you. This survey will take about 5 minutes to complete.

Course Content

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Course Includes

  • 1 Module

Frequently Asked Questions