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p4ges - Can Paying 4 Global Ecosystem Services reduce poverty?

A fruitful trip in the UK

A short blog by Dr. Patrick Ranjatson, Ecole Superieure des Science Agronomiques, University of Antananarivo, Madagascar

Patrick is a co-investigator on the p4ges project: Can Paying 4 Global Ecosystem Services reduce poverty? p4ges is a 3 year project aiming to influence the development and implementation of international ecosystem service payment schemes in the interests of poverty alleviation. It is funded by the ESPA programme.

This is my first trip in the UK and I’m enjoying a lot of things. At academic level it has confirmed my interests for social and community forestry. Working with my collaborator on the project, Dr Kate Schreckenberg, from the University of Southampton, has made me realize the challenging lack of and need for deeper critical analysis about what community forestry is or should be in Madagascar. I have long been convinced that an effective partnership with local communities is the only way to achieve sustainable forests management in my country but this effective partnership has proven difficult to achieve.


My task in the p4ges project is a new and exciting challenge for me.  The working context and atmosphere I’m living in in Southampton and Bangor are helping me to rediscover what a serious research looks like as research in Madagascar is so underfunded there are few opportunities for Malagasy researchers to get involved in such deep, relatively long-term, studies such as the p4ges project. Since my arrival in those two institutions, I’ve been reading and discussing lots of issues, and I’ve even been able to give two presentations on the political context of forest management in Madagascar. Though it’s a heavy burden, I appreciate having to work in such conditions.

And finally, I’m also living a great personal human experience. I’m meeting new different kind of people, and I haven’t met hostilities, but only hospitality. I also discovered beautiful wild nature around Bangor. I am looking forward to returning to Madagascar and getting stuck into the field research and continuing to work with my partners here in the UK to ensure we learn as much as possible in this important project to improve the management of Madagascar’s vitally important forests and improve the lives of local people.

I want to thank all the people who have made this visit possible. Especially the funders of the excellent, and unique ESPA programme:  NERC, ESRC and DFID.