Thematic School: Environmental accounting and ecosystem services, a discussion forum


Mahajanga, Madagascar, September 3-8, 2023

For 6 days, 30 scientists, decision-makers and protected area managers took part in the DIDEM thematic school: "Environmental accounting and ecosystem services, a debate in progress". Classroom and field sessions marked a week rich in exchange and learning. 

Presentation materials are available at the bottom of this page (french only).

Justification, content and challenges

Mangrove clear-cut, DIDEM thematic school Ecole thématique DIDEM, Madagascar @Setra ANDRIAMANANTSOA

Faced with the destruction of biodiversity, it is becoming urgent to make political and management decision-makers, as well as the general public, aware of the value of nature and the costs that its destruction entails.

Is it enough to talk in terms of "natural capital"? Or should we be more precise, and detail the "ecosystem services" that this natural capital renders to human populations? Other questions are just as fundamental: what values and costs are we talking about? At what spatial scale are these values and costs measured?

Answering these questions requires us to position ourselves in one of two camps: those in favor of monetary valuation and those opposed to it. Each side has its own arguments to put forward, and land managers are often at a loss when it comes to the choices available to them, so much so that in the end, we come back to the main question: would  this environmental accounting really help me to manage my land better?

The aim of the summer school is to answer these questions, to train young researchers and to enlighten decision-makers about the principles and methods, and even the ideological undertones, of the various forms of environmental accounting, and above all to discuss how they can use it in their day-to-day work. 

Vocabulary will also be clarified and, by the end of the summer school, participants should be able to grasp the ins and outs of the terms:

  • "total economic value",
  • "strong sustainability”or “weak sustainability”,
  • "ecological debt",
  • "natural capital”,
  • “natural heritage”",
  • "ecosystem services”,
  • "environmental services",
  • "ERC sequence",
  • "contingent valuation",
  • "very high-resolution satellite remote sensing",
  • "territorial governance".

NAP Antrema, DIDEM Thematic School, Madagascar @Setra ANDRIAMANANTSOA

The approach adopted during this summer school makes extensive use of interdisciplinarity, by allowing dialogue between scientists and managers, and feedback from experiences in Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros and Gabon. Diverse disciplinary profiles are involved in the training: ecologists, biologists, agronomists, hydrologist, economists, geographers and remote sensing specialists, and decision makers. 

The workshop site chosen for this summer school is the mouth of the Betsiboka River and the adjacent Antrema biocultural area. This area is home to one of Madagascar's largest mangroves, managed as part of four coastal protected areas, the in the  Betsiboka delta embedded in its estuary, Antrema, the Mahavavy delta and the Baly Bay. Two days were dedicated to field work in the Betsiboka delta among islets colonized by mangrove and in the Antrema protected area.

Three countries of South West Indian Ocean are targeted by this summer school: Madagascar, Mauritius and the Comoros. In each of these countries, ecosystem service assessments and environmental accounting exercises have been carried out. Examples were also be drawn from Gabon, an African country where the issues are similar to those in the Indian Ocean.

Presentation supports (French only)

Environmental accounting in physical and monetary units: the case of the land use account.

By Ny Aina Lazaharijaona RAZAFITRIMO, Université d'Antananarivo, C3ED_M-Mention économie

Ecosystem accounting for Mauritius

By Xavier KOENIG, Sustainability and Climate Change Programme (SCCP), Université des Mascareignes, VARUNA Project

Environmental accounting at the local level: the case of NAP Bombetoka. Example of land use account, carbon account, water account. 

By ANDRIAMANANTSOA Setra, results of work as part of the IOGA-DELC collaboration RAOELISOLOARIVONY (2017), ANDRIAMADIA Mevasoa, ANDRIAMIANDRISOA Navalona Sous la direction de Dr Roger Edmond.

The mangrove ecosystem

By Roger EDMOND, Enseignant chercheur Université d'Antananarivo, and Mbola RAKOTONDRATSIMBA, Enseignant chercheur Université d'Antananarivo

Mapping ecosystem services

By Gilbert DAVID, IRD, UMR Espace Dev

Marine resource management methods

By Mihaly Domointatiana RANDRIANANTOANDRO

An example of the mobilization of ecosystem services in MPAs, the case of the Arc d'Emeraude (Gabon)

By Gilbert DAVID, IRD, UMR Espace Dev, based on the work of Benjamin MESSAME ME MBA and Ewan TEGAROT

Antrema biocultural site, New Protected Area

By Nantenaina Valisoa RANDRIANARIJAONA, Site Manager NAP Antrema

Mangroves under the eye of satellites

By Eric DELAITRE, IRD UMR Espace Dev, and Ravakiniaina RANDRIANATOANDRO, University of Antananarivo

Ecosystem accounting (biophysical accounts) and its applications in Madagascar


(*) Antananarivo Institute and Observatory of Geophysics, University of Antananarivo (**) Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of Antananarivo