COMPETING LAND-USE NEEDS IN A SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATE: INNOVATIVE LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT IN THE COMOROS ISLANDS

 

Hugh Doulton, Misbahou Mohamed, Sven Ten Napel and Gill Shepherd
Dahari – Comorian NGO, Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, IUCNCommission on Ecosystem Management, London School of Economics, International Development Department

 

Abstract
As for many Small Island Developing States (SIDS), interdependence between man and nature is profound in the three islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli that compose the Union of the Comoros in the Western Indian Ocean, one of the poorest independent countries in the world. Over 90% of the population are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, the deforestation rate was the highest in the world between 2000 and 2010, and 30 of 45 permanent rivers on Anjouan have become intermittent. In such a situation with high population density, little unexploited land, and continuing pressure on natural resources, conservation actions need to be fully integrated with development initiatives if they are to have long-term success. The project,“Engagement Communautaire pour le Développement Durabl”‘ (ECDD: www.ecddcomoros.org), worked on Anjouan between 2008 and 2013 to develop an innovative landscape management strategy that improves rural livelihoods whilst conserving remaining natural resources and endemic biodiversity. The project built on and improved the delivery of agro-ecological techniques already adapted to the Comoros to recreate fertility and increase productivity in fields away from the forest for over 1750 farmers. It introduced new agricultural techniques to the Comoros that have shown results in the region, including micro-irrigation, cattle parks, and no-till permanent cover crops. Local management institutions were created and tested through collective projects to improve access to water, and ecological and social research was performed to better understand the pressures on the system and provide an evidence base for conservation intervention. A key result was the creation of the local NGO Dahari (meaning sustainable) to take the work forwards. The NGO will now focus on building direct habitat and biodiversity protection into this landscape management model by testing and adapting innovative direct payment for environmental service schemes. The NGO is looking to develop further collaboration to support the development and expansion of this model.

 

Presentation Topic

COMPETING LAND-USE NEEDS IN A SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATE: INNOVATIVE LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT IN THE COMOROS ISLANDS
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