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Spatial modeling of the potential of agricultural or forestry production for sustainable land use planning

Goulaouic R., Gazull L., Feintrenie L.. 2016. In : Plinio Sist (ed.), Stéphanie Carrière (ed.), Pia Parolin (ed.), Pierre-Michel Forget (ed.). Tropical ecology and society reconciliating conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Program and abstracts. Storrs : ATBC, p. 134. Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC 2016), 2016-06-19/2016-06-23, Montpellier (France).

In Central Africa, oil palm is a major food-crop used in everyday cooking. All the countries of the region are importing palm oil, often from south-east Asia, to cover their domestic demand. Palm oil production is dominated by small scale agriculture, with a diversity going from the small backyard garden to the monospecific plantation of several hundred hectares. Most of the industrial plantations date from colonial periods. New industrial plantations have been expanding in the last decade, with successes and failures, with the help of southeast Asian and European multinationals and domestic investors. The States want to increase their national palm oil production and industrial investments. They hope for socioeconomic benefits and food security. Such plans for agricultural development also present threats such as deforestation, loss of biodiversity and land use conflicts, and caution and planning are needed to avoid negative social and environmental impacts. In order to provide decision-makers with accurate information and useful decision-making tools to plan the development of the palm oil sector at national and subregional scales, the WWF asked CIRAD to map lands potentially favourable to the production of sustainable (P&C RSPO) palm oil in 5 countries of the Congo basin: Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Central Africa. We use a step by step method to 1/ measure and locate territories which are suitable for oil palm culture, 2/ prevent threats over biodiversity and land use by respecting the social and environmental constraints edited by the principles and criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (P&C RSPO), 3/ plan development strategies for palm oil production which are coherent with the national context and specificities (through an evaluation of the adequacy of various production models). The maps resulting from this study are useful decision-making tools that allow analysing trade-offs between opportunities of production and prevention of threats on biodiversity and land use issues. These maps can be useful in the design of national programs of agricultural development that avoid deforestation and preserve biodiversity corridors. Our results in Gabon are consistent with the maps of biodiversity and conservation importance produced by the National Agency of National Parks. In Republic of Congo, they are used in the discussions on the agricultural component of the REDD+ program. (Texte intégral)

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