1.1. Country cases: ROAM in Ghana, Burkina Faso and MRU trans boundaries
In these cases which follow below; from Ghana, Burkina Faso and the MRU countries, the WA BiCC/TetraTech project has been directly involved. The cases present different experiences covering national level ROAM with sub national applications, and Public Private Partnership involvement. They also demonstrate some foundations of a ROAM in Drylands and finally, issues to consider at the Transboundary river basin level.
GHANA (Ghana ROAM Report)
• After a ROAM and a Pledge: capitalization by the private sector in Ghana
Although her restoration pledge came in 2015, Ghana was one of the three “Guinea Pigs” of the ROAM methodology (the others being Rwanda and Mexico). She has to-date the only major Public Private Partnership example of Landscape Restoration in West Africa. The Ghana example of private sector investment in restoration demonstrates that, although knowledge of sub national restoration priorities generated through a ROAM are helpful as information, private sector investors can have specific needs that are more easily met by through association to central Government.
Ghana was used to put together the Road Test Edition of the ROAM Manual (IUCN & WRI, 2014). Although traditionally useful in getting countries to make Pledges, Ghana’s pledge came in 2015 although the ROAM was completed in 2011. The Ghana ROAM nevertheless teaches several important lessons.
Firstly, the Ghana ROAM is a good illustration of different success factors at the national and at the subnational levels. The national level Ghana ROAM (Ghana ROAM Report, Unpublished) identified 14 million ha of degraded landscapes as presenting good “opportunities” for restoration. 11 million ha of these were recommended for mosaic type, while 3 million, for wide-scale restoration. Partly as a result of the Ghana ROAM (2011), two major restoration interventions have been announced, with one well underway.
In March of 2017, the African Development Bank (AfDB,) and Climate Fund of the Forest Investment Program (CIF FIP), signed a US $24-million loan agreement with Form Ghana Ltd. This program for the Restoration of Degraded Forest Reserves through Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified Plantations is the first Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for landscape restoration in Ghana and in West Africa. The project will be backed by a US $10-million concessional loan from the FIP and supplemented by US $14 million in co-financing from the AfDB (AfDB, 2017). The project will establish 11,700 Ha of Teak (90%) and Indigenous species (10%) in degraded Forest Reserves.
It is worthy of note that although degraded parts of protected forests and other State forests are important components in landscape restoration, their restoration assessments don’t often require much in-depth analyses. This is largely because, their boundaries are often well known, largely uncontested, and the restoration options are invariably widescale.
Despite the lack of “ROAM charisma” of Forest Reserves/State forests, Private Sector Investors (like FORM Ghana) prefer over community-managed areas as opportunity to establish a Public Private Partnership (PPP). Degraded State Forests have four (4) key advantages: (i) the land tenure and boundaries are clear, largely uncontested, and State support is assured, with very minimal bottlenecks; (ii) the degradation dimension (loss of plant/tree biomass) is uncomplicated and easy to reverse; and thus (iii) the restoration option – reforestation is simple and straight-forward (90% Teak and 10% indigenous species) rendering silviculture practices and financial analyses efficient: and (iv) the arrangement is long term, enough for break- even and for risk management to be effective and low, respectively.
On the other hand, the restoration opportunities identified during the Ghana ROAM (2011) outside Forest Reserves are unlikely to be as straight-forward. For instance, in addition to the 11, 700 Ha of Forest Reserves currently under restoration, about 14,000 ha of degraded forest land has been acquired in Akumadan and Berekum, North of Kumasi, through a 50-year renewable land lease (Figure 2). Furthermore, a tripartite Commercial Benefit Sharing Agreements (BSA) between the Government of Ghana (GoGh), the local communities and FORM Ghana, has been worked out. The details on this phase remains sketchy. However, looking at the Ghana ROAM Maps for the Brong Ahafo and the Ashanti Regions, the opportunities for restoration in the Akumadan and Berekum regions can be identified. It is not yet known if the 14,000-ha identified by FORM for this Tripartite commercial BSA corresponds exactly to the restoration opportunities.
Nevertheless, this represents one concrete example where results of a national ROAM (at local level) is a subject of potential restoration investment by a major Private Sector entity. It would be interesting to monitor this case as closely as possible.
• After a Pledge: Foundations of a sub national ROAM in Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is a State in the Sahel and has pledged to restore 5 million hectares of degraded landscapes. The country is an important part of the Great Green Wall Initiative for Sub Saharan Africa, with note-worthy examples of farmer-assisted natural regeneration (Zai). She is a major source area for agriculture migrants driving land use change and degradation in the Cote d’Ivoire and increasingly, in Liberia. Analyses of degradation and restoration options in Burkina Faso demonstrates strong micro-level knowledge of both the problems of degradation, and restoration solutions, by a cross-section of stakeholders at the Commune Level. National and international level stakeholders also exist in the country with both interest and resources to support landscape restoration.
In 2018 Burkina Faso pledged to restore 5 million hectares of degraded landscapes through the AFR100 and the Bonn Challenge platforms. In 2019, through collaboration between the WA BiCC/TetraTech Project and SERVIR WA, a sub national ROAM process began in Burkina Faso. A sister project to the WA BiCC/TetraTech Project, SERVIR WA is a joint development initiative of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). SERVIR WA works in partnership with leading regional organizations world-wide to help developing countries use information provided by Earth observing satellites and geospatial technologies for managing climate risks and land use. SERVIR WA is mandated to work in partnership with different institutions to address land use issues, among other responsibilities, including in Burkina Faso.
In June of 2019 a ROAM training workshop was organized in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. In addition to Project Trainers and the US Agencies (NASA, SERVIR and USAID), several Burkinabe Stakeholders; notably; the Ministry of Environment, CNDD , ONDD , ISESTEL , BUNASOLS and six Communes namely; Communes de; Barsalogho, Bobo-Dioulasso, Dano, Leo, Ouarkoye and Yamba participated in the training. This sub national ROAM introductory session covered basic definitions, and participatory mapping of degradation priorities in six communes.
The WA BiCC/TetraTech Project and SERVIR WA, both USAID funded projects implemented by TetraTech ARD are hoping to build on this experience in 2020 by combining the WA BiCC/TetraTech Project’s ROAM know-how with SERVIR WA’s mapping capabilities.
Participatory, mental maps of “degraded” zones were developed by commune representatives during the training workshop and later incorporated into a GIS at the WA BiCC/TetraTech Project. Due to security issues in Burkina Faso, field work in the rural areas was not possible. As will be discussed later, under “Dealing with Drylands, Burkina Faso”; the commune participants did not only demonstrate detailed spatial knowledge of their communes, including different dimensions of “degradation”; they were also explicit about what the drivers, options for restoration; and who the major stakeholders are. The selection of the communes was deliberately done for purposes of geographic representation across the country; ensuring coverage of a range of degradation issues across different land use categories
Figures 4a to 4f are results of GIS-enhanced participatory maps developed by Commune representatives. They are a demonstration of the level of precision which can be achieved through community/mental mapping, based entirely on local, spatial knowledge. It also shows that, such fine-level knowledge can be consistent across the territory and not localized in any one part of the country. More will be shared about this mapping experience in Burkina Faso later-on in this analysis.
TRANSBOUNDARY ROAMS (Mano River Union countries)
• A fresh consideration: ROAM for strong sustainability in trans boundaries
“The Mano River Union States; Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Conakry, share common boundaries with each other. Some of these transboundary areas are home to the remaining blocks of the diverse Upper Guinea Forests of West Africa. We hypothesize that, decades of transboundary land use dynamics, driven by security issues, isolated communities, cultural, social and economic exchanges between the countries; have connived to create ideal conditions for opportunistic land uses; many of which have resulted to significant ecological degradation, and negatively impacting livelihoods of communities”
Many years of armed conflicts, health epidemics, migration, settlements and new displacements, have helped shape and re-shaped land use across these transboundary landscapes. The MRU-GEF-IUCN IWMP co-funded by the WA BiCC/TetraTech Project, developed a broad-based ROAM agenda that is being implemented across these landscapes. These landscapes are also sitting on river basin ecosystems. The High Conservation Value, Transboundary forests context, selected for the ROAM exercises, comprise of the following Transboundary areas and river basins; the Gola (Sierra Leone/Liberia border); Wonegizi-Ziama (Liberia/Guinea Conakry); Mount Nimba (Liberia/Guinea/Cote); and Tai-Grebo-Sapo (Cote d’Ivoire/Liberia) (see Figure 1)
The overarching objective of ROAM within the IWMP’s mandate is to strengthen the management of transboundary natural resources for sustained ecological benefits and improved livelihoods for communities adjacent to forests – basically to achieve strong sustainability where appropriate. The consideration being that, optimal spatial management measures are needed at transboundary areas. Landscape restoration is eventually, expected to play a transformative role in the livelihoods of the communities living in the forest area covered by the WA BiCC/TetraTech Project; and will enable them to benefit from the ecosystem without damaging it (MRU, 2018).
Figures 5a to 5d1 & 5d2, depicts the scope and complexities of the Landscape characteristics of these Transboundary areas, as well as the inherent management challenges
Figure 5a: Mount Nimba, showing the Mount Nimba strict nature reserve (UNESCO site)
Firstly, Figure 5a is the Nimba Mountains and the Mount Nimba strict nature reserve. Although Mount Bintumani 6,381 feet (1945 m asl) is the highest peak across the MRU countries, at 5,748 feet asl (or 1,748 m asl), Mount Nimba is the highest peak in the region between the Gola forests and the Tai – Grebo complex. The implications are that land and or forest degradation in or around the Nimba reserve (a watershed) would negatively impact downstream areas as a result of connectivity enhanced by the hydrology and slope. Therefore, Nimba’s contributions to Liberia’s restoration pledge must give highest priority to steep slopes connected to the hydrological systems.
Secondly, Figure 5b above emphasizes the considerations of landscape connectivity between aspects of; hydrology, livelihoods interventions and HCVF. It depicts the density of the hydrology, and association with HCVF where biomonitoring and conservation actions are concentrated; and the catchment (red boxes) of where the WA BiCC/TetraTech Project’s livelihoods activities are concentrated.
The red rectangle to the left is the “range of HCVF” from the Gola complex through the Foya forests to the Wonegizi – Wologizi – Ziama transboundary forests. This is “a corridor-in-making” considered thus because, the 5 km (arbitrary) buffers around the forest blocks represents the scope of the ongoing ROAM exercise being undertaken by the MRU (Figure 5c below is a close-up of this range of HCVFs).
A successful restoration outcome, or; “sustained ecological benefits and improved livelihoods for communities”, will result in a “continuum” of forested areas under restoration (including their hydrological connections further afield) from the Sierra Leone part (through the WA BiCC/TetraTech Project /RSPB work in Gola), all the way to Guinea Conakry (through the WA BiCC/TetraTech Project /FFI work in the Wonegizi-Wologizi-Ziama). The WA BiCC/TetraTech Project’s support goes way beyond maintaining ecological benefits in the HCVF, to implementing a wide range of livelihoods activities inside and outside this 5 km virtual buffer zone.
The expected restoration outcomes of these activities will be further discussed in this analysis. Finally, in such a multiple land use context, there is a high likelihood that, restoration opportunities will be of the mosaic category.
Figure 5d1 above depicts two scenarios;
• Tai – Grebo which presents opportunity for a “continuum” – or an ecological corridor based
on successfully “sustained ecological benefits and improved livelihoods for communities” occurring in the overlapping 5 km virtual buffers under a ROAM; and
• Sapo – Grebo, where a “dis continuum” is the reality, due to the lack of proximity and complexities between the HCVF, “unresolved” by the 5 km virtual buffer zones. Unresolved
because, it is the intention of some Technical and Financial partners to manage a corridor between Sapo and Grebo. Figure 5d2 is a rendering of such an effort through collaboration between the Liberian Forest Development Authority (FDA), the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF) supported by the WA BiCC/TetraTech Project and other partners.
Whereas, due to proximity between Grebo (Liberia) and Tai (Cote d’Ivoire) a corridor between the two would be strengthened by a ROAM, this is less likely (though not impossible) between Sapo and Grebo.
ROAM is built on local knowledge and the best available scientific information. From Figure 5d2(b) it is obvious there is no lack of information and that, the major land use challenge between Sapo and Grebo, may not necessarily be degradation; but overlapping, competing, even conflicting land uses. It can thus be said that, the Sapo – Grebo “dis-continuum” does not present the best conditions for a ROAM.
Degradation does not appear to be an overriding requirement between Grebo and Tai, (at least not based on any prior study) however, given that both countries have pledged to the Bonn Challenge and AFR100, and there are no obvious conflicting issues between them, a ROAM can further help fine-tune understanding of any opportunities for restoration which may exist between the two HCVF. This is more a case of using ROAM in a pre-emptive manner, to achieve strong sustainability.