Where we work

PRESA is working at 7 sites across East and West Africa

Site overview

The highlands of East and West Africa provide an appropriate context for enhanced learning about rewards for environmental services in Africa. The highland areas are under particular pressure to support dense and growing human populations, which rely on healthy ecosystems for safe drinking water, nourishment, and a secure livelihood. These ecosystems also extend benefits to nonresidents, by prodicing more commercial crops and timber supplies, and maintain regular flows of high quality water for downstream populations such as urban and industrial water users. The ecosystems also regulate flow to communities in flood-prone areas. Other beneficiaries include people who value the rich biodiversity of Africa, such as tourists, and local and international organizations interested in carbon offsets. However, these ecoystems have been degraded due to poor land management practices and deforestation, inflicting costs and risks on rural communities and urban users.

The core landscapes that were selected include:east_africa-labels_2011

C1. Mount Kenya East / upper Tana River catchment in central Kenya;
C2. Nguru and Uluguru Mountains in the Eastern Arc of Tanzania;
C3. Fouta Djallon upper catchment area in Guinea.

The associate landscapes include:
A1. Western Usambaras in Tanzania;
A2. Upper Aberdare catchments in central Kenya that provide water to Nairobi city;
A3. Nyando and Yala basins in Western Kenya; and
A4. Western highlands of Uganda.

Selection Criteria

The core and associate landscapes were identified during 2006 through a process involving a number of consultative processes and stakeholders. The seven sites were selected based on the following criteria:

  1. multi-functional landscapes containing both protected and non-protected areas;West Africa site
  2. demonstrated linkages between the activities of ecosystem stewards and ecosystem services of value to beneficiaries;
  3. PRESA collaborators or other intermediary organizations are present, have good appreciation of local realities, and are interested in supporting rewards for ecosystem services;
  4. there is a clear source of demand for one or more ecosystem service;
  5. geographic priorities of IFAD, ICRAF and collaborators; and
  6. agroforestry is an important land use in the agricultural areas.

Site Characteristics

There are many similarities across the project landscapes.  All are in the highlands of East and West Africa, with considerable similarities in agro-ecological conditions, resource values, and tensions associated with multiple-function ecosystems.  Topographic gradients are important in all landscapes, with biodiverse forests in the uplands, intensive farming in the midlands, and both extensive land uses and important biodiversity reserves in the lowlands.  Interest in specific watershed services varies from one area to the next, with seasonal water supply, water quality, and flood risk of concern in many locations.

Upland forest, agriculture and wetland ecosystems are critical as sources of water for a variety of users, including:

(i) distant urban and industrial populations;
(ii) electricity production utility companies,
(iii) downstream populations that rely on river water for home consumption, livestock consumption, and irrigated agriculture;
(iv) downstream populations that are vulnerable to floods; and
(v) downstream ecosystems like wetlands and lakes whose goods and services in turn support a variety of human populations.