Angakovely (crédit: Gilles Chaix)
This European funded project is a specific targeted research project (STREP). It was submitted in September 2003, in the frame of the specific measures in support of international co-operation - developping countries (INCO-DEV). The project corresponds to the thematic issues A2 "Rational use of natural resource" and A2.1 "Managing humid and semi-humid ecosystems".
This project involves 3 European countries, France, United Kingdom and Norway (4 partners) and 3 African countries, Madagascar, Kenya and Uganda (4 partners)
Its duration is four years and officially started the 1st of June 2005.
In this project for East Africa and the Indian Ocean, we will provide tools and management strategies to enable restoration of degraded humid forest ecosystems by advancing our understanding of the mechanisms of forest degradation/restoration and their potential impacts on local populations, policy makers, governments and markets. We have chosen a novel, widely multidisciplinary, integrated research approach that couples biological/biophysical and socio-economic and policy generating variables, the results of which will form the basis for recommendations and guidelines for sustainable forest restoration and management.
Forest restoration is a long-term process involving colonisations, interventions and extinctions, thus it is not possible to directly address the overall goal using a diachronic approach in short-term projects. Consequently, we will focus on chronosequences of natural regeneration such as fallows and abandoned agriculture, and stages in the degradation process ranging from pristine to clearance. These sites will enable study of recolonisation by key species and the dynamics of restoration at species level thus highlighting where human intervention is necessary to secure recovery of target species. In genetics studies, we will ensure robustness of recolonising vegetation. We will also study propagation, product quality, examine soil chemistry and microbial populations and erosion. This approach allows to define new biophysical and economical indicators of restoration/degradation.
Our approach is in stark contrast to current narrowly focused monodisciplinary approaches to forest restoration. It will put in place practical rules and recommendations to arrest degradation, restore tropical forests, create an enabling environment, ensure sustainability, create equitable opportunities to improve stakeholder livelihoods and encourage development by generating “high value” exportable natural commodities that are exclusively available from tropical forests.