In an official meeting at Stockholm Resilience Centre's offices in Stockholm, Madagascar Chief of Staff Joelisoa Ratsirarson, Ambassador Alphonse Ralisonan and a delegation of public officials met representatives from Swedish research institutions to discuss how to strengthening the collaboration between the two countries.
New research centre to be build in Madagascar
Professor Thomas Elmqvist, who is running multidisciplinary projects in Madagascar, hopes this can turn out to be a fruitful partnership between the centre and researchers from Madagascar.
- Stockholm Resilience Centre is committed to support the building of a transdisciplinary research centre in Madagascar, focusing on ecosystem services, including management and government issues. Furthermore, the centre is committed to reserve five places for Madagasy PhD-students at the new research school, says Elmqvist. He is a professor in Natural Resource Management at Stockholm University and principal investigator of multidisciplinary projects in Madagascar.
Madagascar key global reference point
The Madagascar dry forest is listed as one of the 200 most important ecological regions in the world and approximately 95 percent of plant species found here are endemic to the area.
In an attempt to increase forest protection, the Government of Madagascar has decided to triple the island's area of protected forest which will constitute ten percent of the island density.
Resilience Centre Director Johan Rockström emphasised the key role Madagascar plays in global environmental and development issues.
- Stockholm Resilience Centre focuses on issues that Madagascar has realised a long time ago - issues that the international research community only just recently has come to terms with.
Unconventional measures create forest regeneration
Sacred rites protecting "taboo" forest and unofficial land ownership agreements have also helped regenerate large areas of tropical forest that was previously in decline. Although most of the land in Madagascar is owned by the government, it is villages who for most part control the land. The only way to get access and permission to use the forest is to marry into the local clan.
- It is highly important to continue to build upon this local protection system rather than implementing something new, Thomas Elmqvist says.
- The risk would otherwise to do more damage than good, he says.
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