THE FRAME PROJECT:
BIOdiversity Monitoring Transect Analysis in Africa
Towards Sustainable Use and Conservation of Biodiversity in Africa
BIOTA AFRICA is a cooperative, interdisciplinary and integrative research project with contributions from and in Benin, Burkina Faso, Germany, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia and South Africa.
Initiated in 1999, and at present funded mainly by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project has developed towards a cooperative network: Since 2003, the goals, structures and activities have been jointly defined by scientists and institutions involved in the countries named above.
The project aims at a holistic scientific contribution towards sustainable use and conservation of the biodiversity of the African continent. Goals include:
- the assessment of biodiversity, its structural features and spatial patterns;
- the long-term monitoring and causal analysis of the changes of biodiversity,
- as driven by anthropogenic land use and by climate change;
- the analysis of the biotic and abiotic drivers and processes involved,
- by comparing the dynamics of change measured by use of standardised methodology at standardised Biodiversity Observatories which are exposed to different land use types and were established along important environmental gradients, in order to assess the causes of changes;
- the comparison of different ecosystems within the transect along the continental rainfall gradient;
- integrating experiments and various scientific approaches towards a better understanding of processes of change and the importance of biodiversity for ecosystems functions,
- as a base for predictions, management proposals and the development of analytical and predictive tools for decision-making and action;
- integrating experiments for the restoration of degraded systems
- analysing the socio-economic and political motivations and processes with respect to decision-making of the stakeholders and institutions;
- developing the goals and activities based on strong participation of local land users and communities as well as in partnership with all relevant scientific and administrative institutions of the countries involved,
- a capacity development program especially for a number of members of local communities in the vicinity of the Biodiversity Observatories;
- the transmission of the developed knowledge to decisions makers in all countries involved.
The project understands its activities as a contribution to the International Diversitas program, the goals of the relevant UN conventions (UNCBD and UNCCD) and to the Johannesburg Plan of Action of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).