"Born and living in a country that is home to nearly 5% of the world biodiversity may mean that we do not often ask ourselves why we love nature and why we should conserve it. But in my view, nature made our past, our evolution and constitutes our future," says Liliane Parany, a water and forest engineer at the Madagascar National Parks (MNP), upon completion of an online course developed by ‘Empowering People to Restore and Conserve Tropical Forests (ELTI)’ - Yale University in partnership with IUCN.
‘Tracking and scaling up Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) activities in support of AFR100 in selected countries’ is a project aimed at establishing a baseline for the restoration of degraded lands in the watersheds of Lake Chamo in Arba Minch, Ethiopia and Boeny and Diana regions of Madagascar.
One major component of this project, is the capacity building for FLR stakeholders, through an online course developed by ‘Empowering People to Restore and Conserve Tropical Forests (ELTI)’ - Yale University in partnership with IUCN.
Liliane Parany, a water and forest engineer at the Madagascar National Parks (MNP) completed the course in January 2020. She shares her experience and learnings:
Tell us about yourself
I am a water and forest engineer at the Madagascar National Parks (MNP), a national network that currently manages 43 protected areas. I am in charge of the management and monitoring the application of the law and international conventions such as CBD, CNUCC and REDD+ as well as international designations concerning protected areas such as World Heritage, Biosphere Reserve and RAMSAR. I am also a member of the National Committee for the Restoration of Forest Landscapes (CNRPF) of Madagascar.
What motivated you to work in conservation and nature?
Born and living in a country that is home to nearly 5% of the world biodiversity may mean that we do not often ask ourselves the question of why we love nature and why we should conserve it. In my view, preserving nature is complex and underpins multiple disciplines. It allows us to work together with passionate people, experts at all levels, including local communities who appreciate their land. I think nature made our past, was the base of our evolution and constitutes our future. We can only be proud to conserve nature for present and future generations.
What was your experience participating in the FLR online course?
The online course was very dynamic and interactive. The content was very well targeted and different levels of FLR were well explained through the modules: The why, how to plan and implement, what to pay attention to and how to follow up for adaptive restoration management. It taught us how to develop a theory of change at the national and multisector level in terms of strategy for the restoration of forest landscapes.
What was your greatest learning?
Personally, this course added a certain level of expertise to my knowledge in restoration. The course exposed the various definitions and the various angles of restoration from the point of view of each expert. I was very interested in the effects of landscape structure on biodiversity and what the ideal landscape is by Victor Arroyo-Rodriguez. Despite my basic training, the sections on forestry applications in restoration have always fascinated me. The Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) and mapping the restoration opportunities were also concepts which I was able to reflect on at the scale of our areas of intervention and more broadly at country level.
How is the new knowledge helping in your work?
I see its benefits at two levels: the first being that the Bonn challenge presents a synergy of the objectives of several international agreements. And in my work, I support, among other things, the implementation and monitoring of achievements of these various international agreements in our field.
The second being that, among the five priority options of FLR in Madagascar, I work more in the restoration of degraded natural forests. Therefore, the expertise that I acquired during the course will allow me to draw inspiration from actions to restore ecosystem services to improve the well-being of populations living near the protected areas so that we can gradually strengthen the reduction of direct dependence on natural resources for better management of our biodiversity.
Will the learnings add value to FLR work in Madagascar?
The FLR online course participants have different background and they work in different sectors at different levels of implementation. All these FLR actors now have some sort of information and basic knowledge on landscape restoration. These learnings have created an opportunity for synergy among various players, entities and sectors to achieve the objectives described in the national FLR strategy, which are consistent with general state policy and international commitments for Madagascar. Thus, starting from this capacity building of its members, CNRPF will better assume its mission of piloting and supervising the FLR process towards the achievement of the country's commitment.