2-Year Cooperation between ITTO and IUFRO on REDDES completedDuring the last 2 years, ITTO and IUFRO have conducted a project on REDDES (Reducing Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Enhancing Environmental Services from Forests).
This project aimed to contribute to ITTO's Thematic Program on REDDES through scientific analysis of specific REDDES pilot areas in four ITTO member countries in West and Central Africa (Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria) and capacity building in dissemination of scientific information and effective interactions with policy makers at national and regional levels. The project is built on the realisation that deforestation and forest degradation is driven by a multitude of factors from outside and inside the forest sector. In order to reduce deforestation resulting in long-lasting expansion of the forest area and improvement in forest conditions, site-specific solutions, reconciled with local communities, need to be designed taking into account a wide range of ecological, socio-economic, cultural and institutional aspects. To this end, information on ecological, socio-economic to institutional and policy aspects is needed in sufficient quality and quantity as a basis for effectively reducing deforestation and expanding rehabilitated forest areas in the four ITTO target countries. In this context, the project pursued the following main components:
- REDDES Pilot Areas area assessed and strategies for their implementation developed;
- Scientific information on REDDES is disseminated to and shared with policy makers and forest stakeholders; and
- Research and networking capacity of African forest scientists expanded.
The situation prevailing after Project completion clearly indicates that today there is increasing awareness among local communities in the REDDES pilot sites of the severity of land degradation and the need to address these through a mix of land rehabilitation measures. The stakeholders' proposals for a wide range of land rehabilitation measures such as wildfire control, agroforestry, establishment of woodlots, sustainable harvest of NTFP and charcoal making were taken on-board in developing the REDDES strategies. Although there are no tangible impacts on the landscape thus far through project activities in reversing land degradation in the pilot areas, there are a number of other initiatives related to climate change which could help to promote land rehabilitation. It can be expected that the combined impact of these initiatives will have a positive effect on policy, management and investment into land rehabilitation in the long-run.