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Mangrove inventory training supports Madagascar’s baseline forest inventory

Trainees practice taking soil samples in Madagascar mangroves. Forest Service photo by Adam Welti.

MADAGASCAR – A USDA Forest Service team was in Madagascar in June to provide training on mangrove forest inventory methods to 45 government, non-governmental and academic partners from seven organizations. The two-week training was coordinated by the International Programs office and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Aquatic Ecologist Richard MacKenzie from the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry led the training in collaboration with government and non-governmental partners. The training covered the importance of mangroves especially their role as a significant sink for carbon sequestration, internationally recognized best practices for mangrove inventories considering their unique forest structure, and practical field-based training on conducting forest inventories in mangrove areas. 

This effort aims to support the government of Madagascar’s goals related to mangrove conservation, and carbon inventory and monitoring. The country is developing a baseline forest inventory to support national reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) targets as part of the government’s international commitments to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The national inventory process in Madagascar is funded by the World Bank and Forest Service support was requested specifically for mangrove inventories given the unique methods required and the Forest Service expertise in conducting such inventories domestically and globally.

In addition to this initial training on inventory methodology, the Forest Service will support communities and local partners on mangrove management and restoration over the coming months, in collaboration with other USAID-funded efforts. This related work aims to improve the health of these vital forests that provide livelihoods for communities as well as coastal storm protection, among other benefits, especially along Madagascar’s western coast.

Trainees recall principle of mangrove inventory during the field training in Madagascar. Forest Service photo by Adam Welti.