Community-Based Management of Environmental Resources in East Central

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Nov 9, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Community
-
Based Management of Environmental Resources in East Central
Madagascar

By
Bam Razafindrabe, H.N and Rajib Shaw, Graduate School of Global Environmental
Studies, Kyoto University


INTRODUCTION



Madagascar
is among the few “hottest” biodiversity h
otspots based on richness and endemism
of plants and vertebrates
.
However,
Madagascar’s impressive biodiversity is highly threatened.
At current rates of forest

destruction, all of Madagascar’s forests, apart from a few isolated
patches, are at risk of

dis
appearing within 40

60 years

(CFPF 2004)
.

The present study area is part of a
Ramsar

site (
no
. 1312)
,
which is the largest (722,500 ha)
among the six Wetlands of International Importance
(under the
Ramsar

Convention of
Wetlands)
of Madagascar, covering 787
,555 ha.

The
Ramsar

site
, composed of a large lake of
20,000 hectares, surrounded by 23,500 ha of marsh and 117,000 ha of rice plantations, and
including over 500,000 ha

of watersheds,

provides habitat for three endemic species, all of
which are seriously
t
hreatened
-

the grey lemur
Hapalemur griseus alaotrensis
, the Alaotra
grebe
Tachybaptus rufolavatu
, and the Madagascar pochard
Aythya innotata
-

as well as for five
very rare, indigenous
fish
species and some 30 species of waterbirds

(MINENV 1999)
.

The
Al
aotra region, in east central Madagascar, is
also
considered as the rice
-
bowl of the country
wit
h 13% of total rice production.

Based on the Law on Community
-
Based Renewable Natural Resource Management in 1996,
local communities can control the access, man
age and valorize the resources in their area

(
http://www.ramsar.org/profile/profiles_madagascar.htm
)
.

Among those resources

subjected to management transfer figures the wetland in the Alao
tra region,
part of the Alaotra

Lake

covered by

Cyperus

vegetation

(locally called
zetra
)

mainly used for crafting. The sale of
those products generates revenues to local villagers, in addition to that from rice cropping or
fisheries.

In the study area, t
h
e management of the
zetra
, which are the habitat
s

for the above
-
mentioned
threatened fauna species,
nursery
for fishes

(Table 1)
,
and also the source of material

for
crafting, is transferred to a local association of villagers
(locally called VOI or
Vondro
n’Olona
Ifototra
)
belonging to the Commune of
Amparafaravola in the Alaotra Region

in 2005

(Figure
1).

Key questions that
wer
e a
ddress
ed in the present study are: how local governance
insures

a
better well
-
being of the VOI and how it insures environmental
sustainability? For this end, it is
necessary to understand how the transfer of management from the Gov
ernment to the VOI is
conducted;

what

their respective oblig
ations
are
and how it affects or insur
es environmental
sustainability.

Therefore
, the present

study aims at clarifying the relationship between public participation and
its influence
on

environmental governance at a local level.

Also, focus is put on the factors
shaping the strength of local associations for an
efficient

control of natural resourc
es to ensure
environmental sustainability.


DESCRIPTION OF THE
SITE
S SUBJECTED TO MANAGEMENT TRANSFER


Areas concerned by the transfer of management are divided into the followings:

-

Agro
-
pastoral zone 1: forbidden for grazing and for agriculture

-

Agro
-
past
oral zone 2: controlled use for grazing and agriculture
, mainly reserved for daily
needs of households (traditional

right

for access to resources
)

-

Nursery zone for fishes: fishing season to be respected

-

Restoration zone:
open to crops and to new extension
of
zetra

plantations




Figure 1. Weaving woman in the study site


The biological (fauna and flora) characteristics of the site is shown in Table 1.

Figure 1 shows a
woman weaving mats for commercial purpose and extracted from
zetra

plantations.


WHO IS
WHO AND WHO CONTROLS WHAT?


The highest administrative subdivision under the current political regime is the Region,
followed by the Districts.
However
, the Communes which
are

formed by a certain number of
villages (locally called

Fokontany

) are the most

concerned with resource management
transfer.

The VOI, having their own status and internal regulations among its members, is the first
responsible of the
zetra
; it has to follow the agreement with the Commune as well as the
Technical Department (Water an
d Forest Service). The Commune is in charge of the control,
information and communication to insure the success of the transfer of management to the VOI
as well as
the assistance to the VOI for problem or conflict among its members. The Water and
Forest Se
rvice, as the representative of Central Government, has the obligation of insuring
technical supports, control while being the recognized jurisdiction to bring conflict or eventual
crimes to the court

at regional or national level

(VOI
-
Forest Service 2005)
.



LOCAL GOVERNANCE VS. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY


Being directly concerned by the management transfer of the sites, local VOI members control
the access to resources by themselves especially by adopting a localized traditional practice, the
DINA (trad
itional regulations legitimized by local authorities in most rural areas of Madagascar).
The DINA includes mainly the rules and regulations as well as suitable sanctions in case of
conflicts, theft, etc.

Natural resource management transfer is based on an

annual management plan drafted by the
local association with the technical support of local authorities and technical services. It is
supplied by local members


contributions and also by parts of the revenues provided by the
concerned resources. The viabi
lity of the association is strongly depending on these inputs
which are based on a mutual trust among members.


Table 1.
Biological characteristics of the site


Natural resource

Abundance

Use

Pressure on the resource

1.

FAUNA




Tilapia nilotica

(Baraoa)

60 % of total fauna




Human alimentation

-
Over
-
exploitation

-
Illegal practice

Carassius auratus
(goldfish,
cyprin doré
)

15 % of total fauna

Ciprinus carpio

(Besisika)

15 % of total fauna

Ophicephalus sp
.
(Fibata)

14 % of total fauna

Black crab
s

Abundant

Snail (Sifotra)

Abundant

Human and animal
alimentation




Over
-
exploitation


Eel

Rare

Human alimentation

Sanzinia
madagascariensis
(Manditra)

Rare

-

Hunting

Water birds (various
species)

Very rare

Human alimentation

-
Savage hunting

-
Poac
hing

2.

FLORA




Cyperus
madagascariensis

(Zozoro)

80% of total
zetra

-
Construction materials

-
Fence

-
Raw materials
(weaving)

-
Rituals

-
Inappropriate
fishing

practice

-
Camp fires inside the
zetra

-
Land clearing

Phragmites communis

(Bararata)

10% of total
z
etra

-
Construction materials

-
Fence

-
Firewood

-
Camp fires inside the
zetra

-
Land clearing

-
Overexploitation

Other vegetation

Rare

-
Fodder, firewood,
human alimentation,
medicinal use, bird
s’

nest

-
Overexploitation

-
Land clearing


(source: VOI
-
Forest Serv
ice
2005)

Usually,

livelihoods are
characterized by
a climate
-
depending source of income such as the case
of rice cropping or other crops.
Recently, severe erosion from adjoining mountains, affecting the
agricultural production and recent climatic changes
in combination with human activities in
upstream areas have also made the region more vulnerable and affecting the livelihood of local
people. This affects the agricultural productivity, income and tends to worsen current land
tenure pressure
.
Therefore, m
anagement of surrounding natural resources are playing a role of
safety nets for communities to improve

and restore

their livelihoods

after disturbances occur,

while controlling resource uses and protecting them from any external pressure
s
.



Findings
also

show
ed

that although full responsibility is taken by the local association of
villagers on the resource allocation and management, threats due to the social cohesion among
members, or threats due to the lack of technical capacity

to optimize the resource
utilization

to
balance domestic needs and natural regeneration,

and

finally

to insure environmental
sustainability
,

merit consideration.


Figure 2 shows the
social capital index calculated for the district in general (Amparafaravola)
compared with the pres
ent study site (Commune of Vohitsara, also belonging to Amparafaravola
District).


0
50
100
150
Membership
Community
participation
Social
conflicts
Trust within
organization
Trust within
community
Amparafaravola
District
Vohitsara Commune


Figure 2. Social capital indicators comparing the study site with the average district
characteristics


Although the difference is not significant, less community partici
pation and less trust within the
association is found in the study site compared to the average district case. M
o
re social conflicts
were also found in the same area. These results may become a weak point for the local
community association as far as socia
l cohesion is concerned. This may alter the relationship
among members and may affect the control over natural resources.

T
herefore it

may hinder the
environmental sustainability under the local governance

without the support of

civil societies
and especia
lly
local authorities
.



CONCLUSION



As a conclusion,

the involvement of local and national governments, civil society and other
organizations is an important condition for local governance to reach its mission; however,
implementation procedures as well
as each stakeholder’s role in the process should be clarified
for its success. Consideration and recognition of knowledge, both scientific and indigenous ones,
and ways to pass them to local community associations merit to be addressed in further
research.



R
EFERENCES


1.

CEPF (Critical Ecosystem Pa
rtnership Fund)
.
2004
.

Portfolio Review, Madagascar.
Madagascar and Indian Ocean Islands Biodiversity Hotspots
. 48pp.

2.

MINENV (Ministry of Environment,
Government of Madagascar)
.

1999
.

National Report
related to th
e Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat
Desertification
.
28pp.

[in French]

3.

Ramsar

Convention
web
site
.

http://www.ramsar.org/profile/profiles_madagascar.htm

4.

VOI
-
Forest S
ervice (
Vondron’Olona Ifotony
)
.

2005
.

Agreement for the transfer of
renewable natural resource management between the VOI and the Forest Service
. 32pp.

Unpublished
[in Malagasy]