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Our main research areas focus on subjects within: 


  • Participatory Monitoring & Management

  • Natural Resources & Society

  • Environmental & Social Impact Studies



Monitoring Matters – Locally Based Monitoring


"Monitoring Matters" (MOMA) is a research initiative that compares different biodiversity and natural resource use monitoring systems and study the effects of locally based monitoring schemes in selected rural areas of Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. 


Local resource monitoring schemes often reinforce existing community-based resource management systems and lead to change in the attitude of locals towards more environmentally sustainable resource management. The project explores the potential of locally-derived data to elucidate global patterns of change in the status of populations and habitats, the services they provide, and the threats they face. The project seeks to develop effective modalities for feeding locally derived data up to national and international levels. The project is relevant for improving local monitoring of the status of the natural resource base but also for enhancing participation in planning and implementing sustainable resource management.


MOMA is co-led by NORDECO and the Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, at University of Copenhagen. Participating institutions include University of Cambridge, research and government institutions in, amongst other countries, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Ghana, Namibia, Bhutan and the Philippines. More information about the Monitoring Matters initiative.

Conflict or Cooperation about Water?


NORDECO participates in a major study of water conflict and cooperation together with the Danish Institute of International Studies and a variety of local and international partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America. During the past year, the study has focused on mapping the number and character of water conflict and cooperation events in five research sites in Vietnam, Mali, Zambia, Nicaragua and Bolivia.


The programme is now entering its second phase, which will consist of households surveys conducted with some 2000 households in total. The survey is expected to provide a wealth of information on the relationship between poverty and access to water. Following this, a third phase will be initiated with focus on in-depth qualitative case studies of particular examples of conflict and cooperation in water governance.


Apart from providing much needed knowledge for use in water governance specifically, the study will also be able to highlight issues of interest to the climate debate: Water scarcity and flooding are some of the most direct and immediate ways that climate change impacts on local livelihoods, and knowledge of the way water conflicts play out and are resolved is therefore an important element in supporting local adaptation efforts. 

Biofuels and the Environment


The growing demand for biofuels is promoting the expansion of a number of agricultural commodities, including oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) plantations. Oil palm now covers over 13 million hectares, primarily in Southeast Asia, where it has directly or indirectly replaced tropical rainforest. NORDECO is part of a research group of ecologists, engineers, and botanists from five countries. This research group use meta-analytical techniques to quantitatively explore the impact of the spread of oil palm plantations on greenhouse gas emission and biodiversity. See some results here.


Study of the role of Mangroves in Providing Protection against Tsunami Waves


The 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami provided unique opportunities for assessing the ability of mangroves and other coastal vegetation in attenuating long period sea waves. NORDECO took initiative to establish a research group of engineers, hydrologists, geographers, botanists and ecologists from Denmark, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and the UK.


We quantified the role of coastal vegetation in protecting shorelines against long period waves. We showed - for the first time - empirically that coastal mangrove vegetation can provide protection against tsunami waves. Our findings have profound implications for development investments in coastal areas (preliminary results were presented in an interview our group gave to Nature (433: 94). Our results were published in two papers in Science.

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