Stakeholder-Processes & Cultural Values – Work Package 5


Over generations rural communities in Madagascar and especially the people of the Mahafaly Plateau have learned to live under difficult climatic and nature spatial conditions. They know how to reclaim land and where to find natural resources used as material or medicine. While subsistence farming constitutes the basis of their livelihood this implies a direct dependence on the availability of natural resources and fertile soil in the vicinity. Climatic as well as demographic changes such as the accumulation of dry seasons and a high birth-rate lead to an imbalance between humans and the natural ecosystem of the Mahafaly Plateau.

In order to orientate in subsistence farming people are in continuous communication with the world of ancestors and spirits. They ask for permission, demonstrate apologies and obtain advices. Moreover, there are certain locations and resources which are called taboo and are thus excluded from usage.

WP 5 will deliver key insights on socio-cultural and governance aspects, identifying power relations and interest groups and analysing their knowledge, understanding and knowledge transfer of ecosystem functions and services (ESS/F). The main focus lies on exploring local people’s value perception of ecosystem functions and services and the influence of local customs, values and norms on land use management. An extensive stakeholder analysis conducted by the WP 5 and the WWF forms the basis of this research process.


According to these objectives the following key questions are developed:

  • To which extent can sustainable land use systems that exploit provisioning ESS/F (such as agricultural and wild crops, and woodland) be fostered while recognising traditional practices and the changing socio-cultural background?
  • To which extent can local traditional spiritual meanings related to ESS/F be channeled into sustainable land use programmes?
  • To which extent can local people’s traditional knowledge be integrated into the programmes for sustainable natural resource and land use?


 Current thesis:

  • Process of decision and interest negotiations of local stakeholder in the context of use of natural resources in the Tsimanampetsotsa national park in southwest Madagascar, PhD thesis: Katinka Thielsen (University of Greifswald)
  • Spiritual and traditional meaning of ecosystem services on the Mahafaly Plateau: surroundings of the Tsimanampetsotsa park, PhD thesis: Hémery Stone Tahirindraza (University of Toliara)
  • Social capital and social cohesion in the context of sustainable land use: example of the Mahafaly Plateau (southwest Madagascar), PhD thesis: Mampiray Miandrito Mbola (Universität of Toliara)


For further information on the projects and all current projects click here: Project List





  Events & News 2016



21.4. - 30.6. (Germany)

Exibition (Hamburg, Biozentrum Grindel)
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