Community Forestry (CommFor) Data Collection App Pilot Project 

Community Forestry (CommFor) data collection app pilot project


Over the past quarter century, decentralized policies have become an established plank of efforts by governments, donors, and others to support improvements in natural resource governance. Community forestry is one of the pillars of the pursuit of decentralization in the forestry sector. But low-cost, easy-to-use tools for monitoring the performance of community forestry interventions remain elusive. More generally, the availability of reliable, multi-country, over-time data on community forestry to inform policy, practice and research is also limited.

Project Approach and Description

This FLARE project seeks to meet these pressing monitoring and data needs through development of the Community Forestry mobile application (CommFor). The CommFor app will be piloted in field sites around the world to support development of an improved version.  Pilot results will be shared and discussed at a workshop at the FLARE Network meeting in Rome to inform further development of the CommFor app.
CommFor is built on a small set of questions about forest-society interactions that have been distilled from long-term research carried out by the International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) Network in more than 300 locations across the globe, a review of the scholarly and policy literature, and an analysis of the most important factors found to affect outcomes. The new release of the application will support rapid primary data collection on specific forests, automated download of data on the forest from satellite products and other secondary sources, a visualization engine to compare the forest to similar forests elsewhere, and a discussion forum for users. Future releases will provide a monitoring tool with predictive analytics on performance on multiple dimensions. The primary data collection can be completed in approximately 30-40 minutes by a user familiar with the community forest. The intended audience for the application includes project managers and implementers, NGOs, local community leaders, researchers, and others interested in community forestry outcomes.


Arun Agrawal, Univeristy of Michigan
Ashwini Chhatre, Indian School of Business
Daniel C. Miller, University of Notre Dame


Project period

2022 – present


University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability
University of Notre Dame Keough School of Global Affairs


CommFor Tool Information Session

Research Summary: Global Analysis of Community Forestry Outcomes – Dr. Reem Hajjar