Welcome to the Forest Flyer, an occasional news update from the United States Forest Service International Programs Africa and Middle East Team. To view previous issues of this newsletter, please click here. For more information about our programs, contact Kathleen Sheridan, Assistant Director, at kathleen.sheridan@usda.gov.
FALL 2020

Communities and Biodiversity Thrive at Malawian Park

In Central Malawi, nestled below Chipata Mountain and slightly to the west of Lake Malawi, lies Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, Malawi's largest remaining wild landscape. The reserve was home to 1,500 elephants in the 1990s. By 2015, there were...

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The U.S. Forest Service and USAID are partnering with African Parks at Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve to restore critical habitat, enhance tourism potential, and improve local livelihoods in border communities.

Read the "Communities and Biodiversity Thrive at Malawian Park" to learn more about one aspect of the partnership: a new environmental education center that raises the profile of the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and gives local communities a platform for telling their stories, selling their products and taking pride in their history and landscape.

(COVID UPDATE) With the onset of the COVID pandemic, like many African parks, Nkhotakota lost its international tourists and the critical income they provide. But, there have been positive developments too. Local tourism increased, bringing first-time visitors eager for green space and reduced lodging rates.

The park and its staff have become credible sources of information on COVID-19 for the communities that surround Nkhotakota Park, and the park continues to offer educational tours to community groups who observe COVID prevention measures. The park is also continuing to employ community members to work on fence construction, road maintenance and other infrastructure projects.
Below, Tadala M'banga, the Nkhotakota Extension and Education Assistant for African Parks, leads a local church group on a tour through the park's new environmental educational center. With COVID, the park has lost the stable income that international tourism provides, but it has been able to continue its educational offerings to local groups who practice COVID prevention measures, and local tourism has been on the rise.

Enhancing Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration

Tanzania's Rufiji River Delta hosts the largest mangrove forest in eastern Africa, a critical coastal ecosystem that provides habitat for migratory birds and diverse marine life, stabilizes the shoreline, and traps sediment and nutrients washing...

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Along coastlines worldwide, you’ll find a tangle of salt-tolerant trees called mangroves. They stabilize shorelines, provide life-sustaining ecosystems for fish and wildlife, and store a large amount of carbon contributing to climate change mitigation. And, they are disappearing. An estimated 20 percent of mangrove forests have vanished over the past 25 years, despite recent global restoration efforts.

The U.S. Forest Service is collaborating with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) through the USAID - Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation and Mitigation Program (SWAMP), to find sustainable solutions for mangrove restoration. The solutions need to be community driven, context specific, and anchored in global best practices. SWAMP, in collaboration with a range of regional partners, including the United Nations Environment Programme and the Western Indian Ocean Mangrove Network recently published new Guidelines on Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration for the Western Indian Ocean Region. The guidelines target communities, civil society, national agencies, and practitioners involved in mangrove conservation, providing information they can use to strengthen future mangrove conservation and sustainable management efforts. Please share.

One of the largest and oldest mosques in North Africa is found in Kairouan in the center west of Tunisia. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kairouan is a large city that struggles with cleanliness, in part because it has no strategic vision for recycling or the recovery of waste. A small NGO called APNEK -- the Association for the Protection of Nature and the Environment in Kairouan -- is trying to change this through community initiatives and youth leadership that strengthen municipal governance.

APNEK works directly with elected municipality members, local waste management agencies, and local associations to drive waste management and recycling initiatives. At the forefront of many of APNEK's activities are its youth leaders.

Throughout the summer, June - August, APNEK's youth leaders led community clean-up initiatives along Kairouan thoroughfares and perpendicular streets leading to parks, kindergartens, and places of worship. With machinery and tool support from the Department of Cleanliness at the Municipality of Kairouan, the youth removed more than 3,500 kg of waste and garnered the good will and appreciation of community members.

To sustain their clean-up efforts, the youth leaders are now designing an awareness campaign to spur waste management efforts at the household level. At the end of August, APNEK conducted communications training to help their youth leaders define their communications objectives and determine appropriate channels for delivering their awareness messages.

The U.S. Forest Service met APNEK on a scoping mission in 2018. Impressed by their initiatives and community approach, USFS has now provided APNEK with two small grants that help fund their community-based recycling and waste management programs.

Learn more about APNEK here.
Above, APNEK and its youth leaders clean the streets of Kairouan, removing more than 3,500kg of waste during three separate clean-up efforts.

Below, APNEK youth leaders create a communications plan for improving recycling and waste management efforts at the household level.
RoC Third National Communication Preparation Workshop
Republic of the Congo / October 1-3, 2020
The Ministry of Tourism and Environment, with the support of its partners, including SilvaCarbon, is holding a national workshop to review the UNFCCC reporting process and to take stock of the preparation of RoC's Third National Communication.
Contact: Rene Siwe (RoC), rene.siwe@fs-ip.us

Trainings on Estimation of Forest Degradation in RoC and DRC
Republic of the Congo / October 5-9
Democratic Republic of the Congo / October 13
Technical teams in the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will build upon previous national dialogues and training on estimating forest degradation using the CODED tool. Training sessions are being implemented in collaboration with the FAO.
Contact: Rene Siwe (RoC), rene.siwe@fs-ip.us, Vanessa Filippini (DRC) vanessa.filippini@fs-ip.us
Letting Nature Lead Series, Session 4: Governance, Communities, and Resilience
Virtual / October 7, 8am EST
Will discuss the ultimate goal of resilience in protected area management, where we must be adaptable and have the ability for transformation when necessary. Resilience also requires adaptive governance, acknowledging that protected areas are nested within broader social and ecological systems, and adaptive governance requires building resilient communities.
Contact: Chris Soriano, christopher.soriano@usda.gov

Urban Greening in Ghana
Virtual / October 19, 10am EDT
Ghanaian NGO, Goshen Global Vision, will present to the Beyond Trees network on their collaborative initiative to restore trees and increase green space within the twin cities of Sekondi-Takoradi in Western Ghana. 
Contact: Destina Samani, destina.samani@fs-ip.us 

Updating Cameroon's Forest Cover Change Map
Cameroon / October 2020
Training of the MRV's task force on forest land cover change using UMD's new GLAD methodology to generate annual forest cover change maps and refine the Atlas of land cover loss from 2000 to 2018 period. 

Updating Cameroon's National Forest Inventory Field Manual
Cameroon / October 2020
Completing the National Forest Inventory (NFI) preparation phase includes updating the old NFI field guidance to improve the efficiency and quality of the 3rd future NFI in Cameroon.

Sub-Saharan Africa Illegal Logging and Trafficking Alumni Training
Virtual / December 7-11
Virtual refresher training for alumni participants at the February 2020 course on Illegal logging and trafficking co-led by the US Forest Service and the US Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, for Sub-Saharan law enforcement personnel. The February 2020 course was held at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone, Botswana, 
Contact: Beth Hahn, beth.hahn@usda.gov