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Cycle 8 (2019 Deadline)

Improving mangrove forest carbon and socioeconomic data to improve management in Madagascar

PI: Razakamanarivo Herintsitohaina (, University of Antananarivo Laboratory of Radioisotopes
U.S. Partner: Richard MacKenzie, U.S. Forest Service Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry
Project Dates: November 2019 - October 2021

Project Overview:
8-168_Multidisciplinary team in local workshop in MAdagascar
Multidisciplinary PEER team after a workshop held with local partners
8-168_Ecological team in MAdagascar
Ecological team within the intact mangrove forest  in Morondava, Madagascar
Coastal Malagasy populations rely heavily on mangrove forests for food (fish, shrimp, and crabs), building materials, and fuel wood for cooking. Mangroves also protect these human populations from tsunamis and cyclones, as well provide climate change mitigation and adaptation by removing and storing large amounts of carbon (C) from the atmosphere. Despite these many benefits, overharvesting of trees for charcoal has resulted major deforestation rates and 20% loss of the country’s mangrove forests. Mangrove deforestation not only results in the loss of goods and services provided by mangrove forests listed above but also negatively impacts their ability to keep up with increased rates of sea level rise. Developing community-based management is key to conserving and/or restoring these tightly coupled human-natural systems, but the first steps are using surveys to identify how communities value mangroves economically, culturally, and ecologically and to examine how these social aspects influence important ecological structure (amount of C stored in mangroves) or functions (rate mangroves are accumulating sediment, burying C in their sediments, or rising in elevation relative to sea level rise).

The main goal of this project is to increase our understanding of how socioeconomic, sociocultural, communication, and decision-making contexts impact the ecological structure and functions of Malagasy mangroves, which can be capitalized for national policies as well as for the different strategies of stakeholders in environmental governance. The PI and her team will pursue several specific objectives, the first being quantifying and comparing C stocks and sedimentation, C burial, and accretion rates between deforested and intact mangroves of different regions of Madagascar. Second, they will develop more accurate estimates of above-ground tree biomass through the creation of an allometric equation specific for Madagascar mangrove trees. Third, they will work to understand the social realities related to mangroves by dissecting and resituating the different contexts, practices, representations, and decision making processes. Finally, they will attempt to identify how different social aspects from the third objective impact C stocks and sedimentation, C burial, and accretion rates from the first objective. The project will focus on mangroves in the north (Ambanja) and south (Morondava/Belo Sur Mer) because they represent Madagascar’s largest mangrove areas (24,000 and 26,400 ha, respectively), as well as being areas where trees are over harvested for charcoal and timber and community-based management actions to protect or monitor mangroves are being implemented. Belo Sur Mer mangroves are remote and relatively untouched, providing intact forested control sites.

The project closely relates to the mission of USAID’s Conservation and Communities Project (CCP), which is designed to improve conservation of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity while promoting resilient livelihoods for communities by providing them with a greater voice in the management of their natural resources, promoting sustainable community development, and creating jobs while providing alternatives to unsustainable resource use. Baseline social and environmental data generated from this project, as well as the support of communities in developing appropriate management and monitoring plans as planned under direct support from the U.S. Forest Service, will inform CCP’s Hay Tao and Mikajy projects. Results from this research effort will also be used to identify effective community-based management options that the different communities can adopt that also achieve improved results for sequestering, maintaining, or reducing greenhouse gas emissions that meet Madagascar government goals. Finally, baseline data can be used by the national coordination board of climate change carbon and REDD + (BNCCCC-REDD) for their national greenhouse gas communications and their Nationally Determined Contributions identified in the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Project updates:

During January-March 2020 reporting period, the PEER team continued their planned activities, which included field work, data analysis, internal meetings between multidisciplinary teams, and exchanges with other USAID programs.

In February, the economic team trained the interviewers on methods of data collection and  handling of questionnaires. In March, PEER Carbon team with local authorities conducted community meetings in Antanimanimbo and Menaky villages, which included 37 participants. The team presented social, carbon and economic team-led aspects of the PEER project. Before fieldwork was initiated, the carbon team trained a group of selected  local community members how to measure carbon stock in the field who will be integrated within the carbon team as local consultants assisting during carbon stock measurements in the field.

The team is currently adjusting upcoming field work and lab activities which have been affected by COVID-19 pandemic. 

8-168_Village training_Menaky8-168_Village training_animbo
Carbon team conducting village team training in Menaky villageCarbon team conducting village team training in Antanimanimbo village

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