This project area analyzes civic apps, platforms and sensors to examine how deforestation and reforestation initiatives are formatted, mobilized and supported via civic engagement. Whether through deforestation “watch” platforms, apps for reporting illegal logging, or monitoring technologies such as acoustic sensors or camera traps for capturing poaching, participatory technologies make the forest present, senseable, and actionable in certain ways, for distinct actors, and through specific datasets. These participatory apps, platforms, and sensing devices are often most oriented toward tracking deforestation, while also supporting and funding reforestation initiatives.

Greenpeace: Augmented reality of Great Northern Forests

Such participatory technologies often operate as part of the usual matrix of smart city toolkits, but it is less well understood how they could facilitate or reshape civic engagement with forests and environmental change. These digital modes of engagement could propagate distinct exclusions while enabling or delimiting specific engagements with diverse and situated forest communities 1

By investigating civic technologies for forest engagement within the larger context of environmental participation 2 and planetary governance, it might be possible to consider how digital technologies facilitate or impede distinct modes of participation.


  1. cf. Agrawal, B (2001) Participatory exclusions, community forestry, and gender: An analysis for South Asia and a conceptual framework. World Development 29(10): 1623–1648; Brammer, JR, Brunet, ND, Burton, AC et al. (2016) The role of digital data entry in participatory environmental monitoring. Conservation Biology: The Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology 30(6): 1277–1287.
  2. Chilvers, J and, Kearnes, M (eds) (2016) Remaking Participation: Science, Environment and Emergent Publics. London: Routledge; Lane, SN, Odoni, N, Landström, C et al. (2011) Doing flood risk science differently: An experiment in radical scientific method. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 36(1): 15–36.