Projects in which Prof Brice Sinsin was involved

Goal: A citizen science project and a set of guides has been set up on the citizen science platform iNaturalist for the protected areas of the WAP complex in the border region of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger, intending to help students, park rangers and ecotourists with animal an…

A citizen science project and a set of guides has been set up on the citizen science platform iNaturalist for the protected areas of the WAP complex in the border region of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger, intending to help students, park rangers and ecotourists with animal and plant identification. ferns: monocots: legumes: non-leguminous dicots:
Improving Climate Change Adaptation and Food Security in Benin and West Africa.
Combating climate change and desertification in West Africa RESULTS IN BRIEF Scientists from the EU and West Africa have worked together to investigate the effects of desertification in West Africa and implemented mitigation measures alongside local people. These measures included restoring the ecosystem through tree plantations for carbon sequestration, sometimes known as carbon forestry.© Anne Mette Desertification and land degradation occur in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas and are driven by climatic variations and human activity. The result can be the degradation of soil and vegetation over billions of hectares of rangeland and cropland. The UNDESERT (Understanding and combating desertification to mitigate its impact on ecosystem services) project was established to provide greater insight into desertification and land degradation, and their impacts on ecosystems. The aim was to combat desertification and land degradation in order to mitigate the impacts on ecosystem services and consequently on human livelihoods. This can set in motion a positive cycle that can contribute to alleviating poverty and generate benefits at the community level in accordance with the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. Researchers took an interdisciplinary approach, using remote sensing data with vegetation, soil and socioeconomic information for application in novel computer modelling techniques. They worked with local stakeholders to assess the impact of desertification and to ensure successful implementation of sustainable management practices. In addition, the consortium developed decision-support tools and best practice guidelines for natural resource managers based on early warning indicators of environmental degradation. Risk assessments were conducted in six different case studies on a national and a local scale to investigate the effect of land use and climate change on plant species distribution and diversity patterns. Results showed that both land use and climate pose high risks for plant species distribution and diversity patterns. In addition, climate and land-use changes are a serious risk for the diversity of food species. The consortium employed 17 African PhD students who received training to implement the project’s work and help mitigate risks from future demographic and climatic changes. Results will be directly transferred to international programmes in order to support strategies and initiatives. UNDESERT helped to mitigate climate change through increased carbon sequestration. It also provided better scientific understanding of reliable indicators thereby helping policymakers to formulate concrete management interventions for mitigating desertification. In this way the project worked to improve the lives of local people and support capacity building through the close collaboration of scientists and stakeholders. A project video is available online: PARTNERS Aarhus University, Denmark (coordinator) University of Abdou Moumouni, Niamey, Niger University of Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, Senegal Johan Wolfgang Goethe University, Germany Senckenberg Research Institute, Germany University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso University of Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso University of Abomey-Calavi of Cotonou, Benin Biosclimate Research and Development, Edinburgh, U.K FUNDING EU-FP7 HOMEPAGE EU PROJECT PAGE
Archived project
Sustainable Use of Natural Vegetation in West Africa RESULTS IN BRIEF SUN, gathered local and international expertise to create a framework for vegetation management in west Africa. Improved interaction between scientists and stakeholders promises to prevent further deterioration of valuable ecosystems. Anne Mette Lykke The natural vegetation of semi-arid west Africa is of immense importance to local ecosystems as well as the livelihood of the local population. Unfortunately, poor management and unsustainable use is bringing about rapid deterioration of the vegetation. To reverse this worrying trend of destruction of a crucially important resource, a major EU-funded project was set up involving institutions from across Europe and west Africa. The ‘Tools for management and sustainable use of natural vegetation in West Africa’ (SUN) project aimed to bridge the gap between global initiatives, scientific information and the realities of life in Africa where practical solutions are required. SUN aimed to develop new management tools and solid management strategy to improve sustainable use of natural vegetation. The scientists combined vegetation dynamics and causal factors as well as economic instruments and policies to come up with a recipe for sustainable economic growth. To study human impact on phytodiversity, models were constructed using data from maps of vegetation from land use and protected areas. Overall, the scientists worked to understand vegetation dynamics and the factors that bring this about to identify and protect vulnerable areas and habitats. The scientists derived maps that show the changes in vegetation from 1982 to 2008 from indices subject to evaluation. Growing season peak time, greenness, length of season and shape of the phenological profile were used to correlate plant changes with rainfall and temperature patterns. A comprehensive database at houses the phytosociological and tree (dendrometric) data as well as lists of flora. Adapted to offline and therefore field use where the Internet may be slow, the vegetation data network allows upload of data sets for registered users. For users, the SUN map server facilitates the use of spatial information in SUN areas in west Africa to input into geographic information systems (GIS) for further processing. The SUN countries folder contains a vast range of data – from cities and villages to vegetation, geology and soils, as well as administrative boundaries. SUN has developed a major information platform for sustainable vegetation management in west Africa. The achievements of the SUN project will be fortified by data input from other projects. One key example is that the SUN map server will be updated regularly with data collected from the follow-on Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) initiative ‘Understanding and combating desertification to mitigate its impact on ecosystem services’ (Undesert). MORE DETAILED RESULTS Workpackage 1. Maps of vegetation patterns and land use units have been prepared for the project core areas. Extensive vegetation inventories from land use areas and protected areas have been conducted and data are stored in a vegetation database (WP4) and used for modelling of phytodiversity patterns in relation to human impact. Population dynamics of several highly valued species show declining tendencies in land use areas compared to protected areas. An improved understanding of vegetation dynamics and their causal factors will be used to identify and protect vulnerable areas and habitats (WP5). Workpackage 2. Five indices that measure changes in phenology have been developed and evaluated to verify that these indices measure; 1) Changes in the peakedness of the growing season, 2) Changes in the average annual greenness, 3) Shifts in the time of the peak of the season, 4) Changes in the length of the season and 5) Changes in the shape of the phenological profile. These indices have been used to derive maps depicting the changes in phenology that have taken place over the period of the time series used (1982 – 2008) and to analyse the correlations between these changes and changes in the key climate parameters of precipitation and temperature. Changes in vegetation phenology are significantly correlated with changes in rainfall over much of Africa and, occasionally, with changes in temperature. Workpackage 3. Local preferences and needs in relation to vegetation use have been identified and analysed within all the core areas. Economic instruments, such as subsidies, taxation, quotas or property right institutions, have been identified and analysed according to political feasibility as tools for improved management. Cultural and socio-economic impediments to sustainable use of the vegetation are also identified and ways to redress them are explored. Workpackage 4. An online vegetation database has been developed, which allows entry of all major plot types and maximises user acceptance by a flexible access rights approach. The online database concept has the advantage of common standards, facilitated exchange, good visibility of available data and high data security. The synchronization feature with local databases makes it possible to use our database directly in the field and under slow internet conditions. the database has a digitization record of 360028 single observations and 10743 plots. Workpackage 5. Indicators of sustainable use were analysed and identified at different scales (landscape, habitat, species). For identification of vulnerable habitats and species, the Climate Change Severity Index was derived, and the population pressure on the core areas was assessed. Vegetation data were prepared for comparison of land use and protected areas, and data on highly valued species in relation to the nearest settlements were used to identify the use impact on the species. A list of indicator species is in preparation. Workpackage 6. Biophysic data (vegetation, species, landcover/landuse, ecoregions, soils, geology, climate, rivers, watersheds, slope, elevation, satellite images) and socioeconomic data (population density, villages, administrative boundaries, languages, ethnies, borders, protected sites) for the core areas in West-Africa have been gathered, compiled and processed and are available in six File Geodatabases (ESRI ArcGIS). The Map Server has been updated to GeoMoose 2.0. Workpackage 7. A participatory management plan is being prepared for each core area on the basis of vegetation, satellite and socio-economic data. Management of natural resources is being improved by increasing local populations’ awareness of new possibilities for sustainable use of forest resources and by integrating local knowledge in the management plans. The management plans are being prepared in close collaboration between researchers and local communities. Workpackage 8. Restoration activities are carried out in different ecological sites of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. A total of 10 ha were reforested using low-cost budget (traditional) techniques and deep ploughing. In total, 2500 saplings of value species were planted. In the Sahelian conditions, Acacia senegal and Faidherbia albida are the best species, and in the Sudanian zones, Combretum micranthum, Jatropha curcas, Bauhinia rufescens and Faidherbia albida are able to grow on degraded soils. The best low-budget techniques are half-moon, zaï and stone walls. More expensive techniques like deep ploughing present more effect on soil restoration and biodiversity conservation. Workpackage 9. Dissemination is an important part of all research activities, and all 20 Ph. D. students will focus on disseminating research results. The dissemination is carried out on various levels: information to international institutions, local governments, natural resource management organisations, NGOs and local communities. The scientific results are published in international journals and in brochures in a simplified form. Presently, 29 scientific publications are published in international reviews and more are on the way. PARTNERS Aarhus University, Denmark (coordinator) Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Denmark University of Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, Senegal Johan Wolfgang Goethe University, Germany Senckenberg Research Institute, Germany University of Ouagadougou, Burkina FASO University of Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso University of Abomey-Calavi of Cotonou, Benin University of Abdou Moumouni of Niamey, Niger FUNDING EU-FP6 INCO-dev PROJECT PAGE