The Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism

The launch of the project “Forest and Landscape Restoration and Sustainable Land Management in the Sahel”

Year published: 25/03/2018

The initial meeting of the project “Forest and Landscape Restoration and Sustainable Land Management in the Sahel” was held in Niamey on 21-23 November 2017 with 50 delegates from Niger and Burkina Faso. There, project activities were reviewed and adjusted for operational implementation as soon as was feasible.

Funded by the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM), co-financing partners include the EU-funded Action Against Desertification Project, Korea Forest Service, the Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative led by CBD, and the French Agency for Development. The project “Forest and Landscape Restoration and Sustainable Land Management in the Sahel” will allow field-based restauration actions in three communes of Burkina Faso and three communes of Niger.

These activities will be designed and operated in a participatory way at the local level, with regional support for planning and monitoring. Project outputs at local level will serve as reference/case studies for actions on a global level to develop innovative financing solutions and disseminate knowledge on FLR/SLM.

Following the inaugural meeting, a specific research action forming part of the project started, under an agreement between the CBD and AGRHYMET, a regional centre. This research aims at providing scientific evidence on cost/benefits of FLR in the Sahel region. The costs of interventions targeting FLR are well documented, but there is a need to better investigate the multiple benefits that can be expected from investing in such actions.

The research team includes two post-doctorate scientists, supported by a scientific committee with members from universities and research institutes in Burkina Faso and Niger.

Research will be conducted on four sites (two in each country ), and will investigate the efficiency and effectiveness of at least two types of past FLR interventions with techniques regularly cited as climate-smart agriculture, such as stone bunds, assisted natural regeneration techniques, micro-water harvesting (zaï), water harvesting (half-moon), and forest protection programs.

The research team will first analyse and quantify the biodiversity changes in soil-plant systems by developing comparative analyses at each research site between zones that have shown improved biodiversity conditions from FLR interventions and others that have not. They will then analyse how these changes affect the provision of ecosystem services (such as food supply, carbon sequestration, erosion control) at local level, considering possible trade-offs between different kinds of benefits. They will finally document the economic (theoretical) value of the variations of ecosystem services deriving from FLR and analyse the parts of these services that can be financially realized (through local payment for environmental services (PES) schemes or international payments when it comes to REDD+).

Damien Hauswirth