This diagnostic report presents a Project Scenario. The diagnostic is one way of giving renewed vigor to any Landscape Restoration Program. By sharing the concepts, instances of learning and unlearning; and how to prepare for inevitable change, the diagnostic contributes to knowledge and learning about landscape restoration in a watershed composed of numerous river basins, and facing degradation. Such a Watershed is the Mano River Union area of West Africa. Below are some key messages from this diagnosis;
Landscape restoration is about working to “sustain ecological functions and improve livelihoods, at the scale of a landscape or ecosystem”. As a result, in any landscape program, the structure, architecture, functioning and status of “the Landscape” should be the priority scope for management actions.
In the Mano River Union, processes in the nine (9) transboundary river basins are the vital functions of the landscapes; their high conservation value forests, and fragile coastlines and mangrove are important priorities. Working on all biodiversity under threat and in need of protection; and with communities therein, in need of resilient livelihoods strategies, are the priorities of any LR agenda in the sub region.
Proving the LR concepts, unlearning some notions and adapting for change are important steps in innovation. For innovation that is beneficial to happen, practitioners of LR and ROAM across the region must continue to experiment, adapt and grow the concepts in a continuing, complex context of land use change and climate change.
For instances, specific cases in the benchmarks of the Mano River Union; e.g. more frequent, powerful flash-flooding in the Sahel; Information and Mangrove regeneration in the coastal landscapes; wildlife corridors and transboundary landscapes in terrestrial forests, are factors with ecological and livelihoods impacts. They will require new forms of analysis to produce new layers of information, with urgent and unprecedented implications for LR practice.
LR will benefit from, secure, long-term, sufficient, but incremental funding. Scale and a performance-based system are important requirements and provide opportunities for aggregation and motivation for participation by the private sector. For these reasons and more, public private partnerships are an appropriate mechanism for financing LR.
LR and ROAM applications are catching-up late in natural resources in the region. Therefore, two key next steps to consider are:
(i) To further the development and implementation of ROAM and Landscape restoration prototypes for three (3) benchmark ecosystems (x two replicates) backed by strong, coordinated capacity building and training for nationals and other participating experts.
(ii) Engaging with appropriate, strategic partners to conceive and apply appropriate tools, technologies (ROAM, Landscape Management Framework, GIS, Remote Sensing and Participatory Resource Mapping) to develop a livelihoods and landscape management information system. Such a system should comprise and serve as;
a. A repertoire for high-end ROAM and other map products; finished, costed restoration interventions, per hectare, for different benchmark sites; including links to the stories behind their outcomes pathways to appeal to potential investors and donors
b. A near-real time, information management system , on geo-referenced land use activities, threats to biodiversity; with capability for crowd-sourcing of information; and interacting with users.