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Conservation International

Conservation International Madagascar

Conservation International protects lemurs and Madagascar’s biodiversity by improving human wellbeing, capacity building, and on-the-ground programming.

Supporting lemur conservation at the international and national level since 1980.

Conservation International 10675574_742758362445343_5124538466504412962_nFor more than 25 years, Conservation International (CI) has been protecting nature for the benefit of human wellbeing. Thanks to the help of its 900 person staff, the organization now impacts communities in over 30 countries to help build a healthier, more prosperous, and more productive planet.

CI’s impact on lemur and environmental conservation in Madagascar is achieved through on-the-ground work and through research, publication, and grant-giving initiatives at the international level. CI has been working on a variety of programs in Madagascar since 1980 including biodiversity protection, environmental policy, and community programs. At the international level, CI’s Primate Action Fund—in partnership with the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation—has contributed to global biodiversity conservation by providing strategically targeted, catalytic support for the conservation of endangered nonhuman primates and their natural habitats for over ten years. In addition, CI is well known for its role in publishing newsletters, journals, and books that aim to connect field researchers, conservationists, and captive-care professionals. Notably, CI was a key supporter and financier of the Lemur Action Plan; the document around which this website was built. Other CI publications include:

  • The Tropical Field Guide series, which includes Lemurs of Madagascar and various other pocket guides;
  • Primate Conservation, an open access scientific journal which publishes in-depth articles of interest to primate conservationists;
  • Dozens of articles, reports, and scientific manuscripts published by CI employees about their work in Madagascar and across sub-Saharan Africa more broadly.

In all of its work, some of CI’s largest impacts come from its ability to connect with the public about the need to conserve nature; most recently, the organization’s Nature is Speaking campaign resonated with tens of thousands of people across the globe. This amplification strategy helps communicate success stories to the public and to other organizations and helps motivate change not only in CI’s priority regions but across the world globally.

What lemur species does Conservation International protect?

Through the Primate Action Fund, CI has helped fund conservation programs for dozens of lemur species, including everything from basic research on the northern sportive lemur (which has less than 50 individuals left in the wild) to the impacts of cyclones on black-and-white-ruffed lemurs in eastern Malagasy rainforests. In addition, the organization’s work on the ground—such as in the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor, which is one of the largest vestiges of dense rainforest in the country—has impacted well over thirty species. 

How is Conservation International protecting habitat for lemur conservation?

In addition to working on-the-ground in Madagascar, CI develops the tools needed by governments and NGOs around the world to combat habitat degradation. One example of this, is Firecast, which is a fully automated analysis and alert system that uses satellite image technology to provide real time updates about active fires and fire risks to users around the world. This technology has been used in Madagascar to analyze fire risk in the country’s national parks, and helps track where fires are most likely to occur and when.

Partnering with local communities

Conservation InternationalIn Madagascar, CI works closely with local communities to increase its impact by providing financial and technical support, building capacity, and supporting strategies of development towards a green economy. Financial support is provided both by headquarters – through the Primate Action Fund and via other initiatives – and by programs managed by country-level staff.

For example, the Node Small Grants Program awarded small subsidies to local communities in order to provide economic incentives for conservation programming. This enabled communities to undertake environmental conservation activities while improving local livelihoods. This programs funded 316 micro-projects benefiting over 7700 households in six sites around Madagascar through 11 partner organizations.

Conservation InternationalAs another example, CI’s Project Tokantrano Salama brought family planning services, access to drinking water, and sanitation services to areas in Madagascar with high biodiversity. Coupled with environmental education, this program aimed to decrease the impact on natural areas and to increase human wellbeing.

Finally, CI has worked—and continues to work—with local communities on a variety of eco-tourism projects. In the past, they helped build the capacity for communities to manage parcels of forest (100 to 2500 hectare) in eastern Madagascar. This project aimed to impact over 74,000 people in 23 towns along the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor, a 384,000 ha forest that contains vast amounts of Madagascar’s biodiversity.

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WWF Madagascar

WWF The Panda logo

WWF Madagascar has been paving the way for lemur conservation in Madagascar for over half a century.

Supporting lemur conservation since 1964 with on-the-ground work in Madagascar

WWF Madagascar has been at the forefront of lemur conservation in Madagascar for over fifty years. Their first ever project involved setting up a small reserve dedicated to the protection and prosperity of the Aye-aye, leading to the creation of the Nosy Mangabe special reserve. Since then, lemurs have remained some the organization’s priority species at their project sites across the island.

What lemur species does WWF Madagascar protect?

WWF daubentonia madagascariensis

An Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis).

Over the years, WWF Madagascar has been key to the protection of many different lemur species. Nowadays – and alongside ongoing projects to protect numerous lemur species – WWF’s strategy (Fiscal years 2012 to 2016) identifies the Silky simpona (Propithecus candidus) as one of their flagship species for the Northern Forest Landscape, the largest remaining stand of humid forest in Madagascar. In 2011, WWF – in collaboration with Dr. Erik Patel (now at the Duke Lemur Center), and international expert on the Silky simpona – conducted a vulnerability analysis on this species; the first of its kind.

This groundbreaking research – which helps conservationists understand more about the different threats facing a species – was expanded in 2012 in collaboration with the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and again in 2014 with the help of GERP. This research now helps scientists and organizations better plan their conservation programs.

WWF Madagascar is currently performing fieldwork to collect vulnerability data and information on species viability. This project began in December 2014 and will be followed by updates of the Vulnerability Analysis (VA) until the end of 2017. The aim is to understand the factors that render the Silky simpona vulnerable in order to start implementing adapted management measures that will help the species to face future climate and non-climate pressures.

How is WWF Madagascar protecting habitat for lemur conservation?

WWF Verreuaxi Viktor Nikkiforov

Verreaux’s Sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi).

WWF has been, and continues to be involved in, the establishment and management of many protected areas across Madagascar, which serve to conserve and protect threatened habitats for many lemur species as well as a wide variety of other flora and fauna. In addition, WWF Madagascar carries out a range of actions in Madagascar aimed at protecting habitat. For example, in the Northern Forest Landscape, WWF trains and equips local communities to perform forest patrols. One of the functions of the patrols is to collect information on species locations and populations. Both the presence of the patrols and the data they collect are being used to combat poaching of lemurs and other animal species.

WWF are currently working on habitat protection issues across Madagascar in many sites, including: Marojejy, Kirindy Mitea, Tsimanampesotoe, Amoron’i Onilahy, Ankodida, Corridor Marojejy Tsaratanana, Anjanaharibe Sud, Nord Ifotaka, and Ranobe PK 32.

Influencing environmental policy to help lemurs

WWF Photo2_catégorie1_Ichiyama_ANTANANARIVOWWF Madagascar, and WWF as a whole, are able to raise awareness of the threats facing lemurs at the national and international level. An example of the positive impacts of their work include WWF’s debt-for-nature concept, which pioneered the idea that a nation’s debt could be bought in exchange for in-country conservation programming. WWF has used this program to generate over $50 million (USD) of funding in Madagascar for conservation from 1989 to 2008. In addition, WWF Madagascar was a key facilitator in the First International Conference on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in Madagascar; this meeting was the foundation of the National Environmental Action Plan that was later implemented in Madagascar in the 1980s.

Partnering with local communities

WWF puts local communities at the center of their conservation projects. Local communities that live closest to valuable, fragile lemur habitats are pivotal to the success of lemur conservation because they are the ones interacting with, living in and depending on the forests and species on a daily basis.

WWF Team_Anadapa(Halleux)

WWF Madagascar’s team working in Andapa.

WWF manages a wide array of social development programming; in the past, the organization has developing eco-tourism projects, designed public health programs, and even worked with the Malagasy government to create eco-labels for Malagasy shrimp which are traded on the international market through the shrimp aquaculture industry.

Local conservation management

In the Northern Forest Landscape, a green belt composed of 39 community-based managed areas is currently being established around the newly created protected area of COMATSA (245,000 ha). Each area managed by local communities first undergoes a zoning process and then local management plans are developed. As the Silky simpona is a flagship species for the entire area, activities related to its conservation and resilience building will be developed for the protected areas as well as for all the community-managed areas where the species is present.

Environmental education

Since 1987, WWF Madagascar has been growing its environmental education program, in collaboration with the Malagasy Ministry of Education. The program now has 515 student clubs across 46 districts in Madagascar and impacts over 50,000 students in the country. In addition, the program also prints the Vintsy Magazine – an environmentally focused publication – which has been in print for 64 issues.

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Chances for Nature

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Chances for Nature uses modern media and innovative technology to improve natural resource use in rural communities.

Saving lemurs by helping communities learn about sustainable resources and communicating results across the country

Chances for natureChances for Nature aims to spread, communicate, and promote sustainable natural resource use techniques as well as raise awareness for Madagascar’s extraordinary biodiversity. Chances for Nature achieves these goals through outreach, education and capacity building in small villages in rural Madagascar. Chances for Nature currently focuses many of its efforts in Central Menabe (west Madagascar), but does not limit its education initiatives to just this region.

What lemur species does Chances for Nature protect?

Chances for nature - mouse lemurThis area where Chances for Nature has focused many of its efforts – in west Madagascar – is home to the largest remaining dry deciduous forest of Western Madagascar. This unique ecosystem is home to high floral and faunal diversity, including the world’s smallest primate: Microcebus berthae.

Partnering with local communities

Chances for Nature works closely with local communities in order to establish new programs that help spread information about how natural resources can be used sustainably in remote and resource-poor communities. The work is done in close collaboration with local communities and necessarily involves a partnership with people and elected officials in the areas where Chances for Nature works.

Environmental education

Chances for nature OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn order spread information about the need to use natural resources in a sustainable manner, Chances for Nature uses Malagasy-language multimedia presentations and films to promote sustainable use techniques and practices. In 2013, they produced a film designed to illustrate the uniqueness of Madagascar’s biodiversity; the film also explained the consequences of unsustainable use of natural resources and presented three alternative sustainable techniques and behaviors that could be used to improve the lives of local people while reducing natural resource depletion. This film – as well as other multimedia presentations – reached Malagasy communities in 2013 and 2014 through the help of a mobile cinema. This mobile cinema works exclusively through pedal (bicycle) power and thus reaches a large amount of people – even in remote areas without electricity. The cinema was even used to raise awareness and supplement environmental education in several Malagasy schools.

Presentations currently focus on educating Malagasy communities about:

  • SRI (Sustainable Rice Intensification)
  • Combining fish breeding with rice cultivation
  • Self-made ecological stoves (Fatana mitsitsy or Fatapera mitsitsy)
  • The benefits of ecological stoves (Fatana mitsitsy)
  • Ecologically-friendly charcoal

Ecological stoves

Chances for natureThe first campaign designed to actually implement behavior changes in local communities, supplemented the media-based education program with workshops designed to teach the construction of ecologically friendly stoves built using locally available materials. As 80% of the energy consumption in Madagascar is used for cooking, the use of environmentally-friendly stoves can have a positive impact on habitat protection. Chances for Nature’s approach of combining environmental education, the promotion of sustainable techniques and behaviors, and modern media turned out to be very successful and motivated two communities to built and use the stoves.

Additional workshops and programs will be incorporated into future outreach efforts. Possible topics are numerous, and could include: bee keeping, silk production, chicken breeding, and the cultivation of yams. These workshops will contribute to the food and economic security of Malagasy communities, increase the sustainability of natural resource use, and function to protect the last remaining habitats of lemurs.

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Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (American Friends of Durrell)

Durrell Conservation AFD

The American Friends of Durrell fund habitat protection and capacity building programs in Madagascar.

Supporting lemur conservation by supporting the work of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT)

Durrell Conservation Lee Durrell releasing ploughshare tortoises in 2011

Lee Durrell releasing ploughshare tortoises in 2011.

American Friends of Durrell promotes and supports the work of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT), a British wildlife charity established in 1963 by author and conservationist, Gerald Durrell. DWCT’s mission is to save species from extinction.

In Madagascar, the DWCT has been undertaking conservation actions for species and habitats since 1983. It has pioneered efforts for breeding and release-to-the wild of critically endangered species, for protecting vulnerable habitats and for enabling and empowering local communities to manage their natural environments sustainably. DWCT’s Madagascar Program employs approximately 30 people, mostly Malagasy nationals, and operates at eight sites. Lemurs are flagship species for two of the sites where the DWCT works: the Alaotran gentle lemur at Lac Alaotra and the black and white ruffed lemur at Manombo.

The American Friends of Durrell currently contribute to two of DWCT’s projects: (1) the Alison Jolly Madagascar Scholarship; and (2) the Madagascar Program Management and Coordination fund, which essentially covers the core costs of DWCT’s work in Madagascar. In the future, the American Friends of Durrell will likely increase their funding of the organization’s programs, especially as it relates to lemur conservation.

What lemurs does the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust protect?

Durrell Conservation Alaotran gentle lemurs

Alaotran gentle lemurs.

Lemurs are flagship species for two of the sites where the DWCT works: the Alaotran gentle lemur at Lac Alaotra (east Madagascar) and the black and white ruffed lemur at Manombo (southeast Madagascar).

How is the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust protecting habitat for lemur conservation?

Thanks to the help of the American Friends of Durrell, the DWCT in Madagascar has been able to achieve several landmark moments in lemur conservation. Notable successes include the establishment of a Ramsar Site for Lac Alaotra (east Madagascar) and a National Park at Baly Bay (west Madagascar).

Durrell Conservation Black and white ruffed lemur

Black-and-white ruffed lemur.

Partnering with local communities

DWCT pioneered its approach to partnering with local communities in the early 1990s on the project to save the ploughshare tortoise of Madagascar. It was inspired and led by the late Lala Jean Rakotoniaina, who became DWCT’s Community Conservation Coordinator and a Disney Conservation Hero. Now all of DWCT’s work in Madagascar – and elsewhere in the world – is modeled on this approach, with local communities participating in management actions and ultimately taking on decisions concerning their natural resources. The empowerment of local communities helps increase the sustainability of programming, and therefore the viability of species and target habitats.

Capacity building

The American Friends of Durrell fund the Alison Jolly Madagascar Scholarship. This scholarship allows a student to attend the post-graduate diploma course offered by DWCT at their Durrell Conservation Academy in Mauritius. The Durrell Conservation Academy has trained nearly 4,000 people from 139 countries in biodiversity conservation.

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Wildlife Conservation Society

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

Supporting lemur conservation in the Makira National Park

Wildlife Conservation Society 3The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. In Madagascar, WCS undertakes conservation in and around the perimeter of the Marika National Park in northeast Madagascar, where they partner with local communities to ensure lasting conservation success.

What Lemur Species does WCS Protect?

All of WCS’s conservation actions aim to contribute to the protection of lemur species found in the park. Activities include a comprehensive field-based system of surveillance, law enforcement monitoring and ecological monitoring; restoration and maintenance of critical forestry corridors; research into habitats and species found in the zone; and strengthening of the Government’s ability to manage and enforce forest and marine resource use regulations. WCS and its partners strive to develop the landscape as a model for resource conservation and biodiversity protection through better land stewardship linked to improved livelihoods.

Wildlife Conservation Society 1More than 15 species of lemurs are known in the Makira Natural Park in Northeastern Madagascar. Seven of them are included in WCS’ Makira Project conservation targets:

  • Black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata subcincta)
  • Red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra)
  • Indri (Indri indri)
  • Red bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer)
  • White-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur albifrons)
  • Common brown Lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Silky Sifaka (Propithecus candidus)

Ecological Monitoring of diurnal lemurs in Makira Natural Park

Ecological monitoring of lemurs is conducted annually at the Makira National Park in collaboration with the local communities. The aim is to detect any changes in the populations of these 7 species; data on lemur abundances, on habitat health, and threats facing biodiversity are collected and analyzed to show the possible variations in lemur populations and help target conservation programming. In parallel with this ecological monitoring, WCS Madagascar collaborates with international and national researchers to enrich bio-ecological information on lemurs through various methods including surveys and genetic analysis. Lastly, in collaboration with GERP Association, WCS helped discover a new species of mouse lemur in this region in 2009.

Participatory Conservation of Silky Sifaka (Propithecus candidus) in Makira Natural Park

Wildlife Conservation SocietySince 2005, in collaboration with international and national researchers, WCS has carried out extensive research on the Silky sifaka, a critically endangered lemur species in northeastern Madagascar. In addition, this program aims to:

  • Adopt a practical conservation action plan for the Silky Sifaka that is based upon participatory conservation measures;
  • Use baseline data on Silky Sifaka abundance, distribution and threats to identify priority conservation actions for inclusion in a conservation action plan;
  • Gain community and authority consensus on conservation action plan;
  • Develop and implement a synchronized ranger and community ecological monitoring network in Makira Natural Park;
  • Develop and implement a community ecological monitoring network.

This program will also have a community development component, which will involve education and awareness raising programs. In addition, WCS hopes to integrate Silky sifaka conservation in community ecotourism activities that generate economic benefits for the local community. For example, the organization is developing an eco-forest lodge and as well as partnerships with private tourism operators. The possibility of observing the Silky Sifaka will be a key attraction of the site and the site therefore represents a tangible opportunity to generate economic benefits for the community resulting from the conservation of this species.

Partnering with Local Communities

Wildlife Conservation Society 2WCS works hard to ensure the sustainability of their programming, as there are clear links between improved livelihoods, improved land stewardships, and resource conservation. To achieve this, WCS engages with local communities to build their capacity as effective stewards of their natural resources and to ensure that they derive benefits from the natural resources though promotion of community-based ecotourism and nature based product enterprises, improved agriculture, reinforced governance, and market access.

Partnerships are established through the transfer of forest management to local communities. Communities are also involved in patrolling and ecological monitoring. In addition, WCS has trained dozens of local community teams to assist in their data collection programs, thereby increasing the capacity of communities to monitor local biodiversity and ecosystems.

WCS is developing a network of community based natural resources management sites in the form of a ‘green belt’ around the protected areas. WCS provides support to communities to improve sustainable management of natural resources through diversification of livelihood options and activities to improve human health and welfare. Finally, WCS is taking a leadership role to secure the area’s financial future, and has developed partnerships with the private sector in the sale of carbon credits from avoided deforestation, ecotourism, and wildlife friendly products.

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Centre ValBio & the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments

ICTE and Centre ValBio focus the world’s attention on Madagascar’s lemur crisis through targeted research, conservation, and capacity building.

Supporting lemur conservation by promoting world-class research, encouraging environmental conservation, and building local capacity

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The Centre ValBio – a cutting-edge research station in Madagascar.

The Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments (ICTE) was established by Dr. Patricia Wright in 1991 to encourage and promote scientific research, training and conservation in the tropics. ICTE – together with Stony Brook University – maintain a state-of-the-art research station, Centre ValBio, adjacent to Ranomafana National Park in eastern Madagascar. This research station hosts hundreds of researchers, students, and eco-tourists each year; it is truly the only facility of its kind in the country.

Centre ValBio (CVB) – founded in 2003 – helps both indigenous people and the international community better understand the value of conservation in Madagascar and around the world.

CVB’s mission has three main objectives:

  1. To promote world-class research in one of the world’s most biologically diverse and unique ecosystems;
  2. To encourage environmental conservation by developing ecologically sustainable economic development programs with local villages; and
  3. To provide the local villagers with the knowledge and tools to improve their quality of life through projects focused on sanitation, diet, and education, and ultimately reduce poverty in the area.

What lemur species do ICTE and the Centre Valbio protect?

Centre valbio wildlife

Wildlife in the Ranomafana National Park.

The work of ICTE/Centre Valbio places particular emphasis on the region surrounding the Ranomafana National Park, in eastern Madagascar. This park is host to several lemur species, including:

  • Aye aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
  • Brown mouse lemur (Microcebus rufus)
  • Eastern wooly lemur (Avahi laniger)
  • Golden bamboo lemur (Hapalemur aureus)
  • Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus)
  • Milne-Edwards’ sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi)

It is important to note that long-term research programs are a big priority to ICTE, who trains scientists at all levels through field-based courses, collaborations, and academic exchanges. More than 400 scientific publications have directly resulted from work conducted in partnership with the Centre ValBio. In addition, the organization also conducts biodiversity research and ecological assessments of tropical ecosystems, and coordinates and catalogs the work of over 800 natural and social scientists!

Recent successes at CVB include the translocation of three Prolemur simus from a forest fragment to the national park, as well as the discovery of a thriving group in a nearby region!

Influencing environmental policy to help lemurs

The Ranomafana National Park – which protects 41,500 hectares of rainforest – was created with the help of Dr. Patricia Wright, the founder of ICTE and CVB. Since the creation of this park, the organization has continued to help bring attention to the plight of lemurs and biodiversity in Madagascar at the regional, national, and international level.

Partnering with local communities

Centre Valbio conservation programs

Centre ValBio’s conservation programs have also included reforestation and education initiatives.

One of the central missions of ICTE/CVB has been collaboration and partnerships with the local Malagasy community. CVB employs over 80 local Malagasy as guides and staff for the research station, and has opened up opportunities for work in the park and surrounding areas. In addition to providing sustainable employment, CVB organizes multiple outreach programs in the fields of education, the arts, sustainable agriculture, and reforestation.

Conservation outreach

Centre ValBio leads outreach and public awareness programs that highlight the unique biodiversity of Madagascar; most of this works is achieved through 15 conservation clubs spread across 22 villages that contain almost 500 members. They also use audiovisual and hands-on demonstrations to teach about biodiversity and reforestation in 19 local schools. Most recently, Centre ValBio and ICTE support a range of education initiatives in the Ranomafana region through the PLAY project.

Centre ValBio donates food to local community

Centre ValBio donates food to local community thanks to the help of an emergency fund.

Reforestation program

The Centre ValBio undertakes educational outreach aimed at teaching the value of trees, not just for animals, but for clean water and erosion control as well. Their reforestation initiatives have also targeted schools through their “from schools to the communities programs”, which has worked with 22 villages and 15 clubs on reforestation initiatives.

Health and hygiene

CVB works to improve the local communities’ nutritional conditions through education, implementation of infrastructure, and follow-up on improved sanitary practices. For example, CVB provides seeds and training for vegetable gardens to improve nutritional conditions in impoverished rural communities.

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Duke Lemur Center

Duke Lemur Center logo.

Saving lemurs through scientific breakthroughs and on-the-ground conservation programming.

Founded in 1966, the Duke Lemur Center (DLC) at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina, USA) is an internationally acclaimed non-invasive research center housing over 200 lemurs across 14 species—the most diverse population of lemurs on Earth, outside their native Madagascar.

Because all of its research is non-invasive, the DLC is open to the public and educates more than 35,000 visitors annually. Its highly successful conservation breeding program seeks to preserve vanishing species such as the aye-aye, Coquerel’s sifaka, and blue-eyed black lemur, while its Madagascar Conservation Programs study and protect lemurs—the most endangered mammals on Earth—in their native habitat. The Division of Fossil Primates examines primate extinction and evolution over time and houses over 35,000 fossils, including extinct giant lemurs and one of the world’s largest and most important collections of early anthropoid primates.

SAVA Conservation Project 

 

In 2011, the DLC initiated the SAVA Conservation project in the northeast SAVA region, an acronym that stands for the four districts in the region: Sambava, Andapa, Vohemar, and Antalaha. The DLC-SAVA Conservation project is dedicated to preserving the natural biodiversity of Madagascar — especially its charismatic lemurs — by empowering local communities to be conservation leaders. Our goals are preserving natural environments as well as increasing sustainability and resilience. We achieve these goals through activities centered on education, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, fuel-efficient stoves, research, and much more.

The mission of DLC-SAVA Conservation is to conserve biodiversity in Madagascar by supporting the livelihoods of rural people in forest-bordering communities and through collaborations with researchers, local environmental organizations, and governmental institutions.

DLC-SAVA Conservation activities

Through our network of partners, the DLC-SAVA Conservation activities include:

Environmental education (EE):

    • EE working group: DLC sponsors a working group of local educators and school administrators to co-design conservation education programs for schools.
    • Lemur awareness campaign: noticing a remarkable increase in reports of lemur hunting, in 2021 the DLC began a mobile interpretive center that reaches diverse schools throughout the SAVA region. Partnering with school administrators and the EE working group, DLC staff visit schools, deliver presentations about the local lemur species, why lemurs are important, that they shouldn’t be hunted, and how to protect them. They give posters to the schools, and use lemur activity books to create their own posters about lemurs. All students finish with an evaluation and receive a certificate of lemur appreciation. Almost 400 students have participated in the lemur awareness campaign as of the writing of this article (July 2021), with 30-50 students being served each week.

Children proudly display their Lemur Appreciation certificates after a school visit in Manantenina

    • EE teacher training: Since 2012, DLC has run workshops for all the schools in the Sambava and Andapa districts. These workshops bring together 10-15 trainers, upwards of 250 teachers, and school administrators for 5-day lessons on how to implement environmental education into the curriculum. Founded on years of development between Malagasy conservationists and educators, the training centers around a manual that guides the teachers in integrating nature into every day lessons. Almost 3,000 teachers have been trained as of 2021, and all schools in the two districts have been reached. We now plan to expand to the Antalaha district.
    • Supporting local educators: The DLC partners with the New Generation School Garden, an interpretive center and demonstration farm that invites learners of all ages for educational lesson plans. Run by SAVA conservation activist BENASOAVINA Evrard, the aim of the garden is for visitors to have an engaging experience in nature and learn about sustainability and biodiversity. Through the NGSG and DLC, over 100 students have had 3 interactive lessons at the garden, with a goal of 300 students per year.

School children from the village of Ambatofitotra, near Sambava, during a visit to the New Generation School Garden. All visitors plant trees at the garden to commemorate their visit.

Landscape restoration:

    • The DLC maintains tree nurseries with communities to supply high quality seedlings of diverse trees including over a dozen native species, cash crops like coffee, cloves, and cacao, and over a dozen fruit species. As of the writing of this article, we partner with five communities to maintain tree nurseries and support their reforestation efforts. Each nursery produces approximately 25,000 seedlings per year, which are distributed to the community members to plant on their lands and during group planting events. The DLC staff provide consultation on proper planting techniques and follow up evaluations to determine seedling survival.

DLC sponsored tree nursery with the local school at Belaoka-Marovato, Andapa district.

    • We are partnered with local collaborators to maintain and monitor 4 reforestation plantations throughout the SAVA region, with over 59,000 trees planted on 20 hectares in 2021, and plans for a similar effort in 2022.

CURSA Director, Dr. MANJARIBE Christophe (left) demonstrates proper tree planting techniques with staff and students at their demonstration agroforestry field station.

Promoting aquaculture:

    • To diversify diets and incomes, and as a sustainable alternative to bushmeat, DLC pairs local leaders in fish farming with rural farmers for training in fish production. One model aquaculture project recently harvested over 13kg of fish within 4 months of restocking the pond. The harvested fish were shared among the parents who have made their own ponds so they could stock theirs, as well as a lunch for the school children, and some were sold to raise money for a new blackboard for the school.

Collaboration with Madagascar National Parks:

    • To increase protection and monitoring of parks, especially Marojejy, in recent years, we have continued to sponsor clearing the park limits, painting trees, and hanging new signs for boundary demarcation, and a road-block barrier to prevent trucks from transporting precious wood out of the forest. DLC also collaborates with the MNP to support monitoring by village guards and park staff.

Clear delineation of the park boundaries is essential to maintaining and monitoring the forest.

    • Installation of a potable water well at Manantenina in 2021: This village near the Marojejy National Park lacks reliable sources of clean water because local sources are often contaminated with disease-causing microbes. The DLC created a partnership agreement with the community to install a deep-water well that will maintain safe water even during the dry season.

Research:

  • In collaboration with the local university (CURSA), we are studying lemur viability in protected areas in SAVA, starting in 2020. One Malagasy PhD student and four Masters candidates are currently partnering with DLC and WWF to develop their thesis projects on the ecology and conservation of lemurs in the COMATSA, a corridor between Marojejy, Anjanaharibe-Sud, and Tsaratanana.
    • In addition to research in the forest on lemurs, the team conducts socio-ecological research with the communities. Through focus groups, key-informant interviews, and lemur awareness campaigns, the team is learning about how people use forest resources, especially the level of hunting.

CURSA researchers and local forest managers in the COMATSA protected area of the SAVA region.

  • In collaboration with CURSA, we are studying the links between socioeconomics, agriculture, nutrition, and health. Two Malagasy PhD students are developing their theses, one focusing on nutritional health and the other on connections between agriculture and socioeconomics.

Information campaign and distribution of fuel-efficient ‘rocket’ stoves:

  • More than 80% of people in Madagascar use firewood or charcoal to cook. We partner with the Swiss organization ADES, which produces fuel-efficient stoves in Madagascar that burn 1/3 the biomass of firewood or charcoal compared to traditional stoves. Between 2020 and 2021 alone, over 500 households received training and subsidized stoves. Stoves are sold during demonstrations, and through local entrepreneurs serving as distributors. We are evaluating participants, and found 100% of users are satisfied and save 25-50kg of charcoal on average per month.

Women’s reproductive health

  • We maintain collaboration with British NGO Marie Stopes International, to support nurses visiting remote villages and providing consultation and services on women’s health and reproduction. Over 1,500 women have been served in 23 rural villages.

Serving as a platform for Duke researchers and students:

  • The following departments at Duke have active projects in collaboration with DLC:
    • Duke Evolutionary Anthropology and Global Health (NSF-NIH funded research project)
    • Duke Nicholas School of the Environment Masters Program and the Duke Carbon Offset Initiative (investigating Madagascar reforestation programs for carbon offsets).

Collaboration with CURSA to promote capacity strengthening:

    • Two graduates of CURSA are pursuing Masters programs in the capital, supported by DLC scholarships.
    • Ten students (50% women) are currently enrolled in a DLC Agroecology Internship program, conducting workshops in sustainable agriculture and agroforestry, consulting with farmers about transitioning to sustainable techniques, evaluating programs, and leading in agribusiness entrepreneurship venues.
    • Educational workshops to develop skills:
      • Genetics with 30 students at CURSA in 2018. The workshop was led by DLC scientists Marina Blanco and Lydia Green, and focused on hands-on skills development in molecular biology methods.
      • Field Ecology and Conservation with 35 seniors at the university in 2019. The workshop included one week of field training on data collection in the Marojejy National Park, and one week of data analysis and scientific presentations and writing. The program culminated with students giving presentations on their results and experiences during the training. DLC-SAVA staff served as supervisors and thesis readers for four students preparing senior theses.
      • Scientific Methods and Natural History Collections, serving 30 seniors in 2021. Malagasy scientists Drs. RAMIADANTSOA Tanjona and RAKOTOARISON Andolalao from Antananarivo led a week-long course on the scientific method, principles of research design, and natural history collections especially focusing on rare reptiles and amphibians of the SAVA region.
    • Small research grants were awarded to 15 students to complete their Honors theses. Diverse topics included primatology, herpetology, hydrology, nutrition, agriculture, and evaluations of the DLC reforestation and fish farming projects, to name a few.

Regenerative agroecology:

  • DLC partners with CURSA to deliver a value-added package for students and farmers to develop skills in agroecology, including home gardens, regenerative agriculture, and agroforestry. Over 10 workshops have been conducted with ~200 participants (>50% women) between 2019 and 2021. Monthly evaluations show that about 40% of participants have adopted techniques learned during workshops and applied them in their own agriculture.
    • Women are so crucial to the agricultural value chain and are unfortunately marginalized. We began workshops specifically focusing on women, led by female trainers and attended exclusively by women. These have led to the creation of several Women’s Farmers Associations, who are coordinating their efforts to increase productivity and profitability for their small home gardens.

Women of Mandena village during an Agroecology workshop led by women, for women

 

New collaborations with the NGO Positive Planet and the spice company Virginia Dare.

  • Promoting improved regenerative agroforestry coupled with agribusiness projects with farmers. These projects seek to strengthen professional skills for farmers to develop agroforestry systems that will increase productivity and restore the landscape. In addition, skills-development in family farm budgets as well as village savings and loans associations (VSLAs) strengthen farmers’ socioeconomic resilience. These VSLAs give farmers access to banking and loan services managed by the communities, overcoming barriers of access to official banks.

These projects and more are active areas of research, conservation, and development by the DLC in partnership with our collaborators in Madagascar. We are proud to highlight the work of our partners, without whom the DLC could not achieve our goals. The collaborations with CURSA, MNP, DREDD, the Ministry of Education, local farmers and activists are all essential to meeting our common goals of conservation.

DLC-SAVA Conservation team

Charlie Welch, DLC Conservation Coordinator – Charlie is based at the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, NC and has nearly 35 years of experience working in Madagascar conservation, including 15 years living in Madagascar. In 2004, Welch was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre National by the government of Madagascar for conservation accomplishments in the Tamatave region, while with the Madagascar Fauna and Flora group. Welch now coordinates all project activities, both at the DLC and in Madagascar. Contact: charles.welch@duke.edu.

 

James Herrera, Ph.D., DLC-SAVA Program Coordinator – James is based in the SAVA region of Madagascar, with 10+ years of experience with conservation research and outreach in Madagascar. James conducted his Ph.D. at Stony Brook University with Dr. Patricia Wright, studying lemur evolution, ecology, and conservation. He was a research fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, and a researcher with Duke University’s Evolutionary Anthropology department and Duke Global Health Institute. James oversees the implementation and evaluation of all project activities in Madagascar. Contact: james.herrera@duke.edu.

 

Lanto AndrianandrasanaDLC-SAVA Project Coordinator – Lanto is based in SAVA region of Madagascar. He has worked in the SAVA since 2009 and has been with DLC-SAVA since its inception in 2011. Lanto has been involved in research, with a master’s degree in Paleontology, as well as lemur behavior and conservation. Lanto is responsible for project administration in SAVA and the coordination of our activities with local partners. Contact: lha3@duke.edu.

 

 

Evrard BenasoavinaDLC-SAVA Education specialist – Evrard is from the SAVA region and has worked with DLC-SAVA since 2020. Evrard has a background in biodiversity research and conservation, ecotourism, and agriculture. He created the New Generation School Garden, an interpretive center to valorize biodiversity and ecosystem services, especially related to natural resource management. Evrard leads in our education and outreach programs, including lemur awareness campaigns, school group visits to his center, and more.

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CPALI: Conservation through Poverty Alleviation International

CPALI logo.

CPALI gives hope to local communities through sustainable and innovative programs that harness the power of natural resources.

Supporting lemur conservation by helping communities creatively and sustainably use natural resource

Conservation through Poverty Alleviation International (CPALI) is an international NGO dedicated to a community-centered approach to conservation. Instead of building boundaries, CPALI focuses on strengthening the existing relationship between people and the environment through the development of sustainable livelihoods.

CPALI helps impoverished communities farm and transform native resources to create sustainable enterprises that benefit both people and ecosystems. In Madagascar, the organization works hand-in-hand with SEPALI, an independently-registered Malagasy NGO (2009) in charge of program implementation.

What lemur species does CPALI protect?

CPALI/SEPALI work to engage communities in the northeastern regions of Madagascar, especially in the perimeter areas surrounding the Makira Protected Area and the Masoala National Park. Some of the lemur species found in these areas, include:

  • Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
  • Red-ruffed lemurs (Varecia rubra)
  • White-fronted brown lemurs (Eulemur albifrons)

How is CPALI protecting habitat for lemur conservation?

New cocoon.CPALI works in northeastern Madagascar along the borders of the largest remaining protected area in the country. There, CPALI works with a network of subsistence farmers to cultivate endemic resources and secure a market for their products. Thanks to CPALI’s work, farmers are now planting endemic trees in former clear-cut zones, intercropping trees with edible plants, raising native silkworms to produce silk, using insects as a protein source, and investigating the production of edible mushrooms. The result is a native ecosystem of production which contributes to forest buffer zones near the parks, supports rural farmers, and mitigates the need for bush meat and resource extraction.

Today, CPALI works with a rapidly growing network of farmers’ groups representing 13 communities and over 350 farmers. Together, their participants have planted over 30,000 native trees, raised their average annual household income by over 50%, and are gradually assuming management of the project. Ultimately, CPALI hopes to achieve a sustainable and independent farmer cooperative in Madagascar.

Partnering with local communities

Preparing tree nurseries.CPALI’s greatest strength is that it utilizes resources that are already present: endemic species, local leadership, and community networks. CPALI/SEPALI Malagasy staff manage on-the-ground projects and hire lead farmers in each community to serve as their local liaisons, trainers, and model farmers. These lead farmers, both men and women, are elected by their communities and are intimately involved in program direction, strategy, and implementation.

Prior to implementation, all CPALI/SEPALI projects are evaluated by the community members who would be engaged in the project if it were implemented. In addition, projects undergo scientific evaluation to examine how they will have an impact on the health of the protected area, soil quality, and recovered habitats. Together, these assessments help CPALI evaluate their successes, learn from their mistakes, and make adjustments in policy to better reach their goals.

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