Local Decision-making

Strengthening Local Governance to Promote Forest Landscape Restoration

Mansourian, S., Razafimahatratra, A., Ranjatson, P. and  G. Rambeloarisao (2016) Novel governance for forest landscape restoration in Fandriana-Marolambo, Madagascar. World Development Perspectives 3: 28-31 (see: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wdp.2016.11.009)


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In the remote east-central Madagascar landscape of Fandriana-Marolambo communities were wary of outside intervention. For years they were encouraged to clear forests to produce crops, then all of a sudden as the country’s deforestation rates soared, the forest service started penalising those converting forestland to crops. So when the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) started working on forest landscape restoration (FLR) in this landscape in 2004, unsurprisingly, it faced an uphill struggle to gain the trust of communities.

Local facilitators were hired to collaborate closely with each community and much emphasis was placed on these key local stakeholders. WWF identified the opportunity to improve community engagement in land management, and implemented a number of key governance structures. These included developing community contracts under co-management arrangements, which empowered local stakeholders to become decision-makers in natural resource management. Multi-level and multi-stakeholder decision making became more explicit through project interventions, leading to a national level working group on FLR and landscape-level community contracts to co-manage forests. The protected area management authority played an important role in managing the core protected areas in the landscape.

Today, lessons emerging from this work can provide useful insights for future FLR work as Madagascar has committed to restore 4,000,000ha by 2030 under the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR 100). Sound governance arrangements, as described above, have proven essential to ensuring the long term sustainability of the FLR interventions, particularly now that WWF terminated its activities in the landscape in 2017 and local stakeholders are responsible for maintaining these activities.


The Partners Connection
We are grateful to PARTNERS for the opportunity to publish this work in a special issue of World Development Perspectives. This paper originated at a workshop on governance and forest landscape restoration organised by Mansourian.org with generous support from IUFRO at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in 2016. A poster of this case study was presented at IUFRO’s International Conference on Forest Landscape Restoration under Global Change in Puerto Rico in 2017. Lessons learnt from this project have also been captured in a recent WWF publication.