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).
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”,
"very high-resolution satellite remote sensing",
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.