Call edition 2012

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Study and conservation of the Mohéli forest (Comoros), massif threatened by anthropogenic pressure

Nathalie MOULAERT researcher laureate

°1969 Belgium
Agricultural engineer, option: intertropical agronomy, Faculté Universitaire des Sciences Agronomiques de Gembloux, Belgium, 1992

Etude et conservation de la forêt de Mohéli (Comores), massif menacé par la pression anthropique

The meaning of nature conservation in the developing south is different than in the industrialised north. Life and development in the south depends on pure water, food, fuel and construction materials all locally produced and available in a sustainable way. This depends essentially on a rich and stable biotic diversity and a wise use of it. The research of Nathalie Moulaert concerns the biotic diversity of the forest formations of Mohéli island that is part of the Comoro archipelago. The studied site comprises an oro-oceanic forest, a very original and rare vegetation complex on a world scale. Many endemic animals and plants have their habitats in this tropical forest. Three forest types can be distinguished on an altitude gradient: semi-deciduous forest, lower montane forest and cloud forest. These three structurally different types can clearly be determined on the basis of presence of plant and animal species. The flora is extremely rich. Not less than eleven new fern species have been discovered that allow the identification of the forest type. With presence and absence data of orchids a similar identification protocol could be elaborated.
Thanks to the research, management units could be delimited. The results also contribute to the knowledge of the biodiversity of the forest and support the management of natural resources of the Comoro archipelago.