Resources and tools for describing and documenting ICCAs


(Prioritize any customary or locally familiar methods)

Participatory (2D and 3D) mapping

Participatory or collective mapping of territories, resources, habitats, species and land use zoning can be a powerful entry point for a wide range of community objectives for a territory of life. Mapping can help people reflect together and build consensus on where the territory currently is and what it contains, how this has changed over time, and what (and who’s) rights and responsibilities underpin use and care of the territory. It can bring generations together and help share information across them. Mapping can also be a powerful tool for advocacy. There are many examples and resources to support participatory mapping.  (See, e.g., FAO 2009, IFAD 2009, Mayers et al. 2013:99-101, Rambaldi et al. 2009).

Participatory Geographical Reference System (PGIS)

Participatory mapping (or other territory of life documentation initiatives) may include PGIS. This article describes and provides links to further information and resources on PGIS.

Seasonal calendars

Seasonal calendars can help in documenting information about the territory of life that changes throughout the year – e.g. what resources are available, and how and by whom they are used and cared for.  Beyond Fences Vol. 2 describes the purpose, key steps, and strengths and drawbacks of seasonal calendars, noting that they “are drawings or series of symbols illustrating the seasonal changes in various phenomena of environmental nature (such as rainfall) or social nature (such as labour demand or household income). The calendars generate information on seasonal variations in local problems, resources, constraints and opportunities. For instance, they can explore the use and reliance on various resources, the times when the community or specific groups are fully occupied (and therefore constrained in the contributions they can offer to the conservation initiative), drought or flood seasons, hungry periods, cultural events, and so on. Calendars will differ depending on the occupations of the different stakeholders. For this reason it may be best to do this exercise separately with different interest groups. ” (Read more at Borrini-Feyerabend with Buchan 1997:140)

Local histories, timelines, and trend analysis

Beyond Fences Vol. 2 describes the purpose, key steps, and strengths and drawbacks of trend analysis, noting that it “is used as part of an individual or group interview and consists of an in-depth inquiry on specific problems, how they have evolved, how they are likely to evolve in the future, and what actions need to be taken about them. For large areas, such as a region or country, trend-related data are often available, but for small areas, such as a village, it is unlikely that such data exists, especially data covering a long period of time. Thus, the information to show a pattern of change needs to be obtained locally. The purpose of trend analysis is to assess changes over time. Often, it is used to raise the awareness of people about phenomena that accumulate rather slowly (e.g. soil degradation, population dynamics).” (Read more at Borrini-Feyerabend with Buchan 1997:137)

Audio, photo or video stories

These audio and visual story-telling tools and approaches can also be powerful ways to document and share information about territories of life, including to document and build related knowledge, skills, resources. There are many approaches and tools to support this, each of which can be tailored to the context. For example…

  • Beyond Fences Vol. 2 describes the purpose, key steps, and strengths and drawbacks of “photo appraisal and slide language”, noting that these are “a way of using photographic images (pictures or slides) to promote reflection and awareness and/or collect specific information. Local people are trained to use a simple …camera to take pictures of significant and good and bad features of their lives and their environment. It is important to recruit a variety of photographers (e.g. men and women, farmers and traders) as each will have a different perspective of what is relevant. The pictures or slides are exhibited and discussed in a group or community meeting. Photo appraisal and slide language can be used for a variety of purposes such as participatory environmental assessment, gender analysis and appraisals of traditional and new technologies. Whatever their use, these tools entail an interactive approach. Slide language should not be confused with the use of pre-developed audio-visual materials for educational purposes”. (Read more at Borrini-Feyerabend with Buchan 1997:135)
  • PhotoVoice “design[s] and deliver[s] tailor-made participatory photography, digital storytelling and self-advocacy projects for socially excluded groups” (PhotoVoice webpage).

Other methods include…

  • Conflict analysis timeline (see Mayers et al 2013:28)
  • Rightsholder and stakeholder analyses, institutional analyses and participatory institutions and actors mapping (see participatory mapping resources)
  • Power and drivers-of-change analysis (see Mayers et al 2013: 31,32)
  • Gender analysis (see Borrini-Feyerabend with Buchan1997:141, 142)
  • Inventories and analysis of biodiversity (species, habitats, ecosystems, watershed health…) and natural resources
  • Collection and exhibition of historical and cultural data and artefacts (community heritage centres)
  • Records and stories of specific events and phenomena (see photo stories)
  • Records of collective visions and plans, including ICCA governance and management plans and ’planes de vida’, community protocols (see Shrumm and Jonas 2012)
  • Physical demarcation of ICCA boundaries coupled with mechanisms for monitoring, surveillance and protection from threats

Websites and online resources:

  • LandMark – “the first online, interactive global platform to provide maps and other critical information on lands that are collectively held and used by Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The global platform is designed to help Indigenous Peoples and communities protect their land rights and secure tenure over their lands. LandMark provides several categories of data to show the land tenure situation for Indigenous Peoples and communities, as well as potential pressures on their lands, changes in land cover over time, and their contributions to protecting the environment” (LandMark webpage).
  • Mapping for Rights “is a set of tools and approaches aimed at putting rainforest communities on the map and promoting sustainable, transparent and equitable governance of the Congo Basin.”
  • Gender and land rights database (GLRD) enables you to, among other things, “Learn more about the different factors that relate to gender inequalities embedded in land rights by exploring the country profilesgender and land-related statistics and the recently-developed legal assessment tool (LAT).