The case for a "conservation bank" to secure the future of the TRIDOM forest landscape

Dewachter Pauwel, Quétier Fabien, Bassalang Marie Madeleine, Dessard Hélène, N'Goran Paul, Halleson Durrel, Ndoutoume Eugene, Chamagne Juliette, Garcia Claude. 2016. The case for a "conservation bank" to secure the future of the TRIDOM forest landscape. In : Tropical ecology and society reconciliating conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Program and abstracts. Plinio Sist (ed.), Stéphanie Carrière (ed.), Pia Parolin (ed.), Pierre-Michel Forget (ed.). ATBC. Storrs : ATBC, Résumé, p. 135. Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC 2016), Montpellier, France, 19 June 2016/23 June 2016.

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Abstract : The 178,000 km² Tri-National Dja –Odzala-Minkebe landscape (TRIDOM) is a transboundary rainforest shared by Cameroon, the Republic of Congo and Gabon. It is considered a stronghold for great apes and forest elephants. Protected areas cover 24% of the landscape and are ecologically connected by a large expanse of forest matrix. Threats to the TRIDOM are considerable. Most of the forest in between the protected areas is allocated to logging companies. Elephant populations are declining rapidly because of ivory poaching. A new highway through the TRIDOM's heartland is being build. Hydropower projects such as the Chollet dam are being proposed. The area is also an emerging iron ore province, with several world class iron ore deposits. Under a business as usual scenario, the TRIDOM will progressively cease to exist as a large intact forest landscape, with interconnected patches of high quality forest, and be reduced to a fragmented landscape with isolated protected areas, with most of the large fauna disappearing from the matrix. Elephants, in particular, are key dispersers of plant species and the loss of long-distance connectivity could negatively affect the forest's capacity to respond to change through shifts in the distribution of species. The successful implementation of a net biodiversity gain policy by the proposed mining and hydro projects could leverage significant additional conservation in TRIDOM, through biodiversity offset commitments. Together with careful siting and minimization measures, an aggregated offset project for mining and hydro developments could be designed to provide effective large mammal conservation, and ensure long-distance connectivity is maintained. But, with the mining projects on hold, due to the recent fall in iron ore prices, such a project appears to be a distant prospect. However, with the right institutions in place, investors may be willing to secure land for an aggregated offset, in anticipation of future offset needs. This could ensure the matrix forests are protected before it is too late, with considerable benefits to biodiversity and ecosystem services, and investors could get a return by offering offsets to developers when commodity prices rise again. Such as system is analogous to establishing a "conservation bank" for the TRIDOM, which raises a number of technical and organizational challenges. We discuss these in the light of similar systems elsewhere. (Texte intégral)

Classification Agris : P01 - Nature conservation and land resources
K01 - Forestry - General aspects
L20 - Animal ecology
F40 - Plant ecology

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Dewachter Pauwel, WWF (GAB)
  • Quétier Fabien, Biotope (FRA)
  • Bassalang Marie Madeleine, REC (CMR)
  • Dessard Hélène, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA)
  • N'Goran Paul, WWF (CMR)
  • Halleson Durrel, WWF (CMR)
  • Ndoutoume Eugene, WWF (GAB)
  • Chamagne Juliette, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA)
  • Garcia Claude, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (CHE) ORCID: 0000-0002-7351-0226

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