Members in Action: Karma Bouazza, Director-at-Large
Monday, May 4, 2020
Posted by: Keith MacCallum
Karma Bouazza is one of the newly-elected Directors-at-Large on SER's Board of Directors. Her two-year term will begin in July. We reached out to her to learn more about some of her current work, and her experience with SER.
What’s your current job?
Ecological Restoration consultant. I have worked since 2011 with the U.S. Forest Service International Programs in Lebanon, Jordan, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Morocco, and Rwanda as a Native Nursery and Ecological Restoration Consultant.
What projects are you working on right now?
Since 2011 I have been working first as a Nursery Component Manager at the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), a project implemented by U.S. Forest Service and funded by USAID, then as an Ecological Restoration Specialist. LRI has been officially established as an NGO since 2014 and continues to collaborate with U.S. Forest Service and other international organizations. I have also contributed since 2016 to the Sustainable Environment and Economic Development (SEED) project in Jordan, implemented by the U.S.F.S. International Programme, as a nursery and restoration specialist, now a locally established NGO, Watershed and Development Initiative (WADI). Both projects aim at strengthening and developing sustainable native seedling production of higher quality to ensure better managed restoration efforts in the region, with increased seedling survival rates post-planting, while empowering local communities to take ownership of their lands. I have participated in the development of technical protocols and guidelines for native seedling production and restoration, identifying seedling stocktype most effective during outplanting and ensuring sustainability of seedling production and restoration efforts. Since 2018, I have been working as a nursery and ecological restoration consultant in projects in Guinea, Morocco, and Rwanda implemented by the U.S.F.S. IP, aiming at supporting the development of sustainable native seedling production for ecological restoration purposes. Through those projects the main focus was and will continue to be to raise awareness about ecological restoration and transfer related scientific knowledge and technology where it is applicable and customize protocols according to local conditions and needs. Currently, I am also leading the Research and Development Component in the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI) NGO, aiming at first identifying research gaps throughout the different fields of ecological restoration and wildlife conservation that hinder the sustainability of landscape management. The program focuses on an integrated research approach, building a platform for scientific collaborations between researchers from public and private sectors, linking research to practice and ensuring there is more of a complementary work rather than duplication. One of the first projects is the conservation of the critically endangered Lutra lutra (Eurasian otter) in Lebanon.
What do you find most rewarding about working for your organization?
I have been working in the field of ecological restoration since 2008 in several regions, allowing me to gain expertise working in ecological projects in different climates. My work, mainly since 2011, focused on teaching and disseminating the practical science behind ecological restoration to different stakeholders, primarily to empower the local communities that benefit from natural resources surrounding them and encouraging them in leading ecological restoration efforts to sustain biodiversity and improve livelihoods.
How long have you been a member of SER? What’s your best experience thus far?
I have been a member of SER since 2017, and I have been able to participate in many of the conferences held around the world. This has allowed me to learn more about my field and the research that is being conducted internationally, while building strong connections with ecological restoration scientists and practitioners. SER allows the easy transfer of knowledge and innovations in the world of restoration, a field that includes different areas of expertise (mainly science, policy, socio-economic) and encourages diverse groups, especially young people, to get involved in this field, and practice their passion while being involved in ecological restoration.
Thank you for joining our Board of Directors, Karma!