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We work on the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in tropical forest landscapes under transition. Lands use changes, livelihoods, sustainabilitiy, governance and participatory management are strong elements of our research.

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The Forest Management and Development (ForDev) research group is a joint partnership between ETH Zurich and the Research Unit Goods and Services of Tropical Forest Ecosystems from CIRAD, the French Centre for International Research on Agronomy and Development. 

ForDev partners include international organizations such as CIFOR, the Centre for International Forestry Research and the CGIAR Research Program onForestsTrees and Agroforestry (FTA). ForDev collaborates with research institutes, international NGOs and local partners, including private groups.


Waeber, P.O., Reibelt, L.M., Randriamalala, I.H., Moser, G., Raveloarimalala, L.M., Ralainasolo, F.B., Ratsimbazafy, J., Woolaver, L. 2017 Local awareness and perceptions: consequences for conservation of marsh habitat at Lake Alaotra for one of the world’s rarest lemurs, Oryx, doi: 10.1017/S0030605316001198.

Stoudmann, N., Garcia, C., Randriamalala, I. H., Rakotomalala, V. A., Ramamonjisoa, B. 2016 Two sides to every coin: farmers’ perceptions of mining in the Maningory watershed, Madagascar. Madagascar Conservation & Development11(2), 91-95.

Garcia, C., Dray, A. Waeber, P. 2016. Learning begins when the game is over. Using games to embrace complexity in natural resources management. GAIA—Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society 25(4), 289-291. doi:10.14512/gaia.25.4.13

Waeber PO, Wilmé L, Mercier J-R, Camara C, Lowry PP II. 2016. How Effective Have Thirty Years of Internationally Driven Conservation and Development Efforts Been in Madagascar? PLoS ONE 11(8): e0161115

Bose A, Garcia C, Vira B 2016 Mottled motivations and narrow incentives: Exploring limitations of direct incentive policies in the Western Ghats, India. Ecol Econ. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.09.007.

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We are engaged in collaborative research projects across the tropics, (1) trying to understand change in tropical forest landscapes, (2) representing complex social and ecological systems through participatory models and agent based simulation and (3) fostering discussion and supporting collective decision making on natural resources management.

We are learning to develop models that merge local ecological knowledge and scientific expertise. We use games to explore possible futures of landscape changes with the stakeholders, and design with them theories of change. 

Our flagship projects are CoForTips and CoForSet in the Congo Basin, and AlaReLa in Madagascar. We have several ongoing PhD research projects in Nepal, India, Madagascar, and soon in Colombia.

In addition to research, we develop training courses at ETH and beyond, on our approach of transdisciplinarity based on facilitation and participatory modelling.

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ForDev is part of the Professorship of Ecosystem Management supervised by Prof. Dr. J. Ghazoul.

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