Natural vegetation of arid and semi-arid West Africa is of immense value to local people s daily subsistence and nutrition, economic benefits, and survival in hunger periods. None the less, poor management and unsustainable use deteriorates the vegetation at a high rate. Much scientific information and local knowledge is needed for improving management strategies. Some already exist, but it must be organised, analysed, targeted and made available to decision makers and local communities. New research must be targeted to fill important gaps in this knowledge. One of Africa s major development challenges is to establish a link between global initiatives and local management actions. SUN will broaden the role of scientists as mediators between the world of scientific information, global conventions and the African realities where practical actions are wanting. SUN will develop new, practical management tools and concrete management actions for improved sustainable use of natural vegetation by combining scientific vegetation data, remote sensing and socio-economic information with local people s knowledge and needs. SUN combines three types of activities: -Interdisciplinary research on vegetation dynamics, causal factors and economic instruments and policies to enhance sustainable economic growth. -Development of new decision support tools for improved natural resource management by organising scientific data. -New low-budget management and restoration actions in collaboration between scientists and local people. SUN includes West African and European scientists within vegetation-ecology, socio-economy, ethnoecology and remote sensing, all with experience in applied research. 17 African phd students will be educated within the project. SUN will function as a knowledge-and technology-based platform for vegetation management in West Africa by gathering the major expertise, by novel use of scientific data and by improved interaction between scientists and stakeholders.
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project