RVI: Combining community management and individual property rights

Dr. Sepp presents approach and results from Madagascar on COP 11 Landscape Day, Nambia

2013-10/ The PGM-E Programme of Madagascan-German cooperation, implemented by GIZ, also foresees a component to afforest degraded lands and contribute to sustainable household energy supplies by way of plantations. In ten years, 6,700 ha of wastelands have been afforested. This constitutes a national biomass reservoir in the making. The forest plots are presently managed by 2,600 individuals from 70 villages who increasingly make a living from the plantations, from which they draw their necessary source of charcoal, rather than from the country's primary forests. An estimated 50,000 ha of natural forest have thus been been protected from logging, equaling a carbon dioxide storage potential of 20.5 tons.

Improvements along the entire value chain are necessary and feasible to consolidate a self-sustaining regional economy and broad benefits, as ECO’s Managing Director Dr. Steve Sepp explained in his review. Mainstreaming formalized biomass energy markets and democratically organized spatial planning into rural development policies are commonly part of this. But the driving force is allocating individual legal titles to people – rather than counting on community property and, management alone. The RVI scheme secures tenure, tree ownership and later personal revenues to the individual farmer family.

The presentation titled “Land Rehabilitation through reforestation - The Power of Property Rights” was delivered at a side event of COP 11 that explored innovative approaches to combat land degradation and strengthen the resilience of rural people by way of sustainable wood energy production. ECO Consult, who has been active in the country since 2004, has edited an accompanying paper that illustrates the goals and instruments of RVI (PDF, English, 1.7 MB).

The side event was part of the “Landscape Approach Day” (September 24th) of the 11th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. About 80 participants attended the discussions, among others Nora Berrahmouni from FAO and Susanne Wallenoeffer (GIZ). Further sessions of the day were on partnerships creating an EverGreen Agriculture; a SADC operational platform to enhance synergies between the biodiversity, land management and climate change pursuits of the Rio Conventions; ecosystem based adaptation (synergies in implementation of the Rio Conventions); and valuing the biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands.