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Institute of Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo)

University of Hanover

The Institute of Zoology at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover protects lemurs through on-the-ground research, capacity building, and captive management.

Supporting lemur conservation with long-term research programs and capacity building.

Eulemur fulvus, Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: E. Zimmermann)

Eulemur fulvus, Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: E. Zimmermann)

The Institute of Zoology in Hannover undertakes cutting edge research on lemurs both inside and outside Madagascar. One of their major aims is to increase understanding of how nocturnal lemurs have adapted and evolved in the in their respective environments.

In particular, the Institute studies the patterns, evolution, and consequences of differences between species in their behavior, bioacoustics, ecology, and susceptibility for diseases. Combining this knowledge with an understanding of how habitat needs and habitat fragmentation impact the genetic diversity of populations,it is possible to evaluate the changes for long-term survival of these populations.

The working group “Lemur conservation Biology” from the Institute of Zoology has worked in the Ankarafantsika National Park (135,000 ha park) since 1995 and in the Mariarano forest since 2003. The Ankarafantsika National Park comprises the largest remaining patch of continuous dry deciduous forest in northwestern Madagascar and is therefore of utmost importance for the preservation of the remaining biodiversity.

 

What lemurs does the Institute of Zoology protect?

In the Ankarafantsika National Park, the institute’s work impacts:

  • Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
  • Milne-Edwards sportive lemurs (Lepilemur edwardsi)
  • Western woolly lemurs (Avahi occidentalis)
  • Golden-brown mouse lemurs (Microcebus ravelobensis), described by the Institute in 1998
  • Mongoose lemurs (Eulemur mongoz)
  • Grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus)
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus medius)
  • Brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus)

The organizations undertakes several projects, described below.

Conservation biology and environmental flexibility of lemurs in the Ankarafantsika National Park and the Mariarano forest (Project code: LemCon2)

Microcebus ravelobensis, Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: E. Zimmermann)

Microcebus ravelobensis, Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: E. Zimmermann)

This long-term program, which has been ongoing since 2003, takes place in the Ankarafantsika National Park and the Mariarano forest. This mosaic of habitat types offers many different ecological niches for lemurs and other forest dwelling organisms. Knowledge of how lemurs survive in these different niches is still in its infancy, but urgently needed for conservation management. This project investigates the biology of these animals live in these habitat types, including their vulnerability towards diseases. This knowledge will help us understand the environmental flexibility of species, how events such as climate change affect lemurs’ life history and long-term survival, and provide data for the long-term conservation management of lemurs in northwestern Madagascar.

Effective lemur conservation in the Sofia Region (Project code: LemCon3)

Pending funding, this project will take place in the Anjiamangirana forest and the Marosely forest (northwestern Madagascar). Both areas are fairly fragmented but are important habitat for the many lemur species. The main threats to lemurs in these areas are hunting, charcoal production, and fires. Both areas give home to five to six lemur species, with mouse lemur and sportive lemur species differing between the sites. The species include:

  • Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
  • Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
  • Danfoss’ mouse lemur (Microcebus danfossorum)
  • Grewcock’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur grewcockorum)
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius)
  • Common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Otto’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur otto)
  • Bongolava mouse lemur (Microcebus bongolavensis)
  • Gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus)
Lepilemur edwardsi, Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: E. Zimmermann)

Lepilemur edwardsi, Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: E. Zimmermann)

The Institute proposes to undertake five different actions to help protect these lemurs species at these sites:

  1. Facilitating existing local conservation projects;
  2. Long-term monitoring and research to
    identify the needs of local communities and determine where they overlap with conservation needs, work with migrant communities, and promote animals who naturally reforest areas (e.g., bats, lemurs, birds);
  3. Undertake educational exchanges for two-way communication and knowledge transfer, and train locals in sustainable agricultural techniques;
  4. Mitigate habitat threats through fire prevention and control, promotion of alternative cooking fuels, and by supporting forest patrols.
  5. Long-term natural resource management and local development by implementing the Madagascar Bushmeat Strategy, building and maintaining tree nurseries, identifying optimal reforestation areas, and creating/supporting civil organizations that focus on environmental justice.

Phylogeography and conservation genetics of nocturnal lemurs (Project code: LemCon4)

Since 2000, this project aims to understand the population structure of different lemur species across their habitat ranges in view of how drastically anthropogenic disturbances have impacted forests.

Effective conservation requires detailed knowledge on how many individuals remain in the wild, the distribution of species, threats to their survival, and the degree to which individuals within a species differ (e.g., genetically). This project studies genetic differentiation in order to develop effective conservation measures and formulate long-term management plans.

Captive Management

In addition to their work in the field, the Institute of Zoology also leads the ex situ management of Goodman’s mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara), and keep one of only two breeding colonies worldwide for this species.

Partnering with local communities

Land use and forest corridors at the border of Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: U. Radespiel)

Land use and forest corridors at the border of Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: U. Radespiel)

Species and habitat conservation cannot be achieved without involving the local Malagasy community resulting in their active participation in decision-making processes. As a prerequisite, any conservation initiative must therefore aim to strengthen local knowledge and to raise responsibility for the unique biodiversity of Madagascar.

Since 1995, the Institute of Zoology has established a series of collaboration contracts with Malagasy authorities including the University of Antananarivo (Department of Zoology), the University of Mahajanga (Biology Department), and Madagascar National Parks (MNP). These are key to the long-term success of the programs and to build capacity in Madagascar for lemur conservation.

Specifically, the Institute aims to:

  1. jointly perform research projects and publish scientific results with Malagasy collaborators;
  2. improve access of Malagasy partners to scientific results from the international research community;
  3. provide institutional support for Malagasy universities and collaborators;
  4. increase scientific networking with Malagasy colleagues;
  5. support and mentor Malagasy students, postdocs, and researchers; and
  6. contribute to local capacity building of students and local field assistants.

Conservation Management of lemurs in the Ankarafantsika National Park (Project Code: LemCon1)

Village at southern border of Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: U. Radespiel)

Village at southern border of Ankarafantsika National Park (photo: U. Radespiel)

Pending funding, this program will take place in the Ankarafantsika National Park (northwestern Madagascar). Wildlife in the National Park is continuously threatened by bushfires, deforestation, the presence of cattle and human settlements in the forest, charcoal production, and hunting activities. There are, however, central park headquarters and 12 decentralized base camps that aim to limit use of the forest within park boundaries. However, this management system is not yet very effective and needs much improvement. In order to protect the unique and fragile forest mosaic habitats of the Ankarafantsika National Park and its threatened lemurs, a number of conservation actions need to be taken immediately in collaboration with Madagascar National Parks and the Park Administration:

  1. Survey work utilizing the existing forest wardens and additional, temporary base camps;
  2. Train park wardens/forest agents to undertake biodiversity assessments and data processing;
  3. Establish a long-term database and communication network for transmitting and continuously evaluating the monitoring activities at each base camp and across the park;
  4. Build a conservation education program to teachers so that they can better deliver conservation lessons to their students.
  5. Hold regular meetings with the leaders of all villages around the park, discussing the needs of the local human population, and updating people about ongoing and future conservation work in their areas. Educational materials such as booklets, poster, comics and T-shirts will be produced and distributed among villagers.
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Planet Madagascar

Building sustainable forest communities.

Supporting lemur conservation in northwest Madagascar through focused outreach and education programming.

Planet MadagascarPlanet Madagascar undertakes lemur conservation efforts in and around the Ankarafantsika National Park, in northwestern Madagascar. They primarily work in three communities consisting of 488 people (2014): Ambarindahy (316 people), Maevatanimbary (65 people), and Andranohobaka (107 people).

The organization very purposefully implements one project at a time, at a relatively small scale, so that they can work with the three communities on an ongoing basis. Over the next few years, Planet Madagascar will focus on conservation education, fire management, and community livelihoods programs.

In the future, they plans to grow as funding allows, and eventually expand outside of the three communities. They work hard to seek funding through grants and private donations.

What lemurs does Planet Madagascar protect?

Planet Madagascar’s work in and around the Ankarafantsika National Park in northwestern Madagascar currently impacts the following lemur species:

  • Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
  • Western woolly lemur (Avahi occidentalis)
  • Mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz)
  • Common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus)
  • Golden-brown mouse lemur (Microcebus ravelobensis)
  • Milne-Edward’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur edwardsi)
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius)

How is Planet Madagascar protecting habitat for lemur conservation?

Fire Management

Planet Madagascar staff.

Planet Madagascar staff.

Over the coming years, Planet Madagascar will work with local community members, including national park staff, to find and implement realistic solutions to bush fires, one of the major threats affecting lemurs in the park. Local residents burn grasses near forest to improve grazing zones for cattle, but fires also accidentally burn forest.

Planet Madagascar will work with the community to implement a fire management strategy while contributing to improving the livelihood of people living in the communities. This strategy will provide employment for local residents and also mitigate fire risk for lemurs and their habitat.

Forest reforestation

We work to cultivate and plant new trees in Ankarafantsika National Park. We focus on two types of restoration, restoring fragmented landscapes to create corridors that connect existing fragments to continuous forest and erosion control through forest restoration where we plant trees to reduce the impact of erosion. We hire and train local community members to work with our on-the-ground Planet Madagascar staff members to identify target plant species, collect seeds, build and manage tree nurseries, and plant seedlings. Community members benefit through a salary-based program, thereby providing them with much-needed revenue and by receiving the direct benefits of erosion control through forest restoration.

Partnering with local communities

Planet MadagascarLocal people are involved at all stages of Planet Madagascar’s projects, as one of the goals of the organization is to develop capacity in Madagascar. Before implementing any project, Planet Madagascar holds stakeholder meetings with community members to facilitate open discussion about the challenges faced by conservation efforts, and to brainstorm collaborative solutions and action plans. Then, while programs are being implemented, they ensure that relevant members of the community are trained to manage and continue the programs. Finally, Planet Madagascar always endeavors to provide local communities with the tools they need to continue the work and educate themselves about the importance of the conservation projects.

Community Livelihoods

In September 2014, Planet Madagascar completed a livelihoods survey, speaking with 213 community members in their three target communities. Preliminary results revealed that over 70% of the people did not have knowledge of the different lemur species in their region, and few people were aware of the benefits that lemurs provide to forest ecosystems. For example, in one village, only 8% of people were aware that lemurs disperse seeds. We found that people’s livelihoods depend on the national park and its resources. For example approximately 70% of the respondents stated that their livelihoods depend mostly from the park for food, water, and economic activities.

These results underline the importance of implementing education and development programs in these communities and will serve as a baseline dataset that allows Planet Madagascar to measure the impact of their future projects and education initiatives, detailed below, on local knowledge and attitudes.

Conservation Education: Lambas for Lemurs

Planet MadagascarPlanet Madagascar’s first conservation education project, Lambas for Lemurs, was funded by Primate Conservation, Inc. and the Rufford Foundation and began in April 2015. Our goal is to raise awareness about lemurs, including:

  • why they are so unique,
  • their role in the survival of the whole ecosystem,
  • why lemur survival is linked to the survival of humans in the area, and
  • to foster a sense of pride in local communities for the lemurs of the region.

To implement this program, Planet Madagascar created an education toolkit that consists of guidelines and activities for adult leader training sessions, children’s educational programming, and adult educational programming. To reinforce the conservation message, we printed lambas, local clothes similar to a sarong, and gave them to some participants. Lambas are traditionally a culturally relevant medium of knowledge transfer. On each lamba we printed a scene depicting lemurs living in forest alongside people, and a message that states in the local dialect of Malagasy that “a healthy forest has lemurs.”

Educational Documentary

Planet MadagascarAlong with renowned wildlife filmmaker, Chris Scarffe, Planet Madagascar has gathered footage that will be used to produce an educational documentary, aimed at a Malagasy audience. This film will highlight issues related to human-wildlife interactions in Madagascar and will illustrate why a healthy ecosystem is beneficial to both humans and nature. Ankarafantsika National Park will be used as case study in the film. This film will facilitate dialogue in the local communities in a way that helps people understand how their actions have direct impacts on the surrounding wildlife and ultimately on their own livelihoods.

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Hazo Tokana Tsy Mba Ala

HTTMA logoHazo Tokana Tsy Mba Ala undertakes research and reforestation efforts in northern Madagascar.

Supporting lemur conservation through research and reforestation

HTTMA CIMG9906Hazo Tokana Tsy Mba Ala (HTTMA) is a recently founded association which aims to develop reforestation and forest management projects in northern Madagascar. The organization is registered in France but supports and facilitates actions undertaken by its sister association – which goes by the same name – in northeast Madagascar. Their pilot study will set up a foundation for the establishment of forest management activities in their target regions, by using a three-pronged approach: 1) increasing ecological, zoological and botanical knowledge of the area; 2) initiating reforestation programs; and 3) ensuring community-based conservation programs to conserve existing forest fragments.

What lemur species does HTTMA protect?

HTTMA IMG_1925At the moment, the organization focuses its habitat protection efforts on areas that impact the following species:

  • Crowned lemurs (Eulemur coronatus)
  • Fork-marked lemurs (Phaner sp.)
  • Mouse lemurs (Microcebus sp.)
  • Sanford’s brown lemur (Eulemur sanfordi)
  • Sportive lemurs (Lepilemur sp.)

Together with Malagasy scientists trained at universities in Mahajanga and Antsiranana, the organization will undertake some of the first ecological assessments of their two focal forests. This means describing the area’s lemurs, animals, and plants, as well as the anthropogenic threats facing these ecosystems, including deforestation. The area has rarely been visited by scientists and taxonomists, and will help defining new priority areas for conservation and reforestation.

How does HTTMA protect habitat for lemur conservation?

HTTMA currently undertakes work in two forests in northeastern Madagascar: Analalava and Ambohitrandrina. In addition, the association aims to extend its work to other neighboring areas once they’ve established sustainable programs in their current project sites. To help increase the effectiveness of their work, they combine ecological research and surveys of both animals and plants. Looking forward, the organization aims to set up a tree nursery, collect seeds, and grow and 10,000 plant trees; the total impact for their pilot project will be to reforest 5 hectares of degraded habitat.

Partnering with Local Communities

HTTMA IMG_1860HTTMA work involves local communities in order to lay the foundation of a sustainable reforestation/forest management project in the two forests where they currently work. Specifically, they are developing activities that supplement their ecological work that include: 1) capacity building, 2) alternative livelihoods, and 3) local social development.

In terms of receiving local input on their activities, the organization has worked together with communities to discuss and write the organization’s conservation and reforestation road map. In addition, their activities will create at least five temporary jobs (8+ months of employment each) as well as one, full-time position for a local graduate student who will act as a coordinator of the organization’s activities. The organization will also train members of the local community to enhance their knowledge in biology, ecology, and conservation, including hired guides, reforestation technicians, and students.

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Biodiversity Conservation Madagascar

Biodiversity Conservation MadagascarBiodiversity Conservation Madagascar protects habitat and provides employment to local communities to help save lemurs across Madagascar.

Protecting Madagascar’s biodiversity and improving the livelihoods of local communities

Biodiversity Conservation MadagascarBiodiversity Conservation Madagascar (BCM) was established in 2002 as the conservation arm of Bioculture (Mauritius) Ltd., a for-profit company that provides most of its funding. BCM’s main goals are to conserve threatened forests in east and west Madagascar that are of high biodiversity value, especially those rich in lemur species. BCM currently works in the 2,400 hectare lowland rainforest in Sahafina (east Madagascar) and the Beanka dry deciduous forest in the Maintirano region (west Madagascar).

What lemur species does BCM protect?

BCM works in both east (Sahafina, near Brickaville) and west (Maintirano region) Madagascar. In the Benka conservation site, the program works to protect the following species:

  • Bemaraha woolly lemur (Avahi cleesei)
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius)
  • Dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus sp.)
  • Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
  • Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufus)
  • Eastern lesser bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus)
  • Randrianasolo’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur cf. randrianasoli)
  • Pygmy mouse lemur (Microcebus myoxinus)
  • Giant mouse lemur (Mirza sp.)
  • Pale fork-marked lemur (Phaner pallescens)
  • Decken’s sifaka (Propithecus deckenii)

In their Sahafina project site, they protect:

  • Eastern woolly lemur (Avahi laniger)
  • Greater dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus major)
  • Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
  • Red-bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer)
  • Eastern lesser bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus)
  • Indri (Indri indri)
  • Brown mouse lemur (Microcebus rufus)

How does BCM protect lemur habitat?

Biodiversity Conservation MadagascarBCM manages the conservation of two forests on behalf of the Malagasy government through “Conservation Leases.” Since 2003, BCM has been responsible for the protection of 2,400 hectares of humid low altitudinal forest in eastern Madagascar. In 2007, BCM started managing a second site—the Beanka New Protected Area in Western Madagascar. This 17,000 hectare forest is of significant ecological value and harbors a rich diversity of plants and animals. BCM is currently working to secure long-term protection of these two sites.

Through the establishment of a forest guard, BCM aims to reduce lemur and large mammal hunting at their study sites by 100% in ten years.

Partnering with local communities

One of BCM’s primary approaches to forest protection includes the use of conservation payments to local communities. This program ensures that communities receive direct material benefits in exchange for supporting ongoing conservation projects. For example, BCM employs 35 plant-nursery attendants, forest guards, and local site managers.

Biodiversity Conservation Madagascar also implements the following programs in partnership with local communities:

Biodiversity Conservation Madagascar IndigenousPlantNurseryBeankaEucalyptus and fruit tree plantations

To alleviate pressures on the forest, BCM manages the growing and planting of Eucalyptus trees, which provide a good source of fuel and construction materials for local communities. Eucalyptus trees—due to their ability to grow quickly and without a lot of water—are an ideal replacement for the precious and slow-growing hardwood trees that have been traditionally cut down by Malagasy communities.

BCM has also helped plant fruit trees in local villages to provide a secondary source of food and income to the local people.

Biodiversity Conservation Madagascar WaterWellBeankaWater wells

BCM has provided the materials for local communities to build four water wells. This is of considerable importance as it helps assure a continuous water supply for the local community.

Agricultural training

BCM has trained local communities on how to effectively grow vegetables and to improve their rice growing techniques.

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SEED Madagascar

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SEED Madagascar alleviates poverty and protects biodiversity through a multi-pronged approach including research, capacity building, and development.

Supporting lemur conservation through research and targeted social development

Azafady Conservation Programme team.

Azafady Conservation Programme team.

SEED Madagascar’s mission is to alleviate poverty and conserve the unique, biologically rich, and greatly endangered forest environments in southeast Madagascar. They empower the region’s poorest people to establish sustainable livelihoods for themselves and improve their well being.

SEED Madagascar’s Conservation Program implements a broad range of lemur projects that conserve the lemur community of Sainte Luce and ensure their long-term survival within their natural habitat.

What lemur species does SEED Madagascar protect?

SEED Madagascar’s research programs protects several lemur species including:

  • Collared brown lemur (Eulemur collaris).Mouse lemurs (Microcebus sp.)
  • Cheirogaleus medius (Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur)
  • Brown lemurs (Eulemur collaris)
  • Southern woolly lemurs (Avahi meridionalis)

Conservation in Sainte Luce is essential.

Conducting Research to Preserve Saint Luce Habitat

The littoral forests of Sainte Luce have been declared a conservation priority within a globally recognized biodiversity hotspot, making conservation here essential. Additionally, this habitat has been earmarked for future mining projects which may threaten the lemur populations. SEED Madagascar has been researching the lemur populations restricted to the littoral forest fragments of Sainte Luce since 2007.

Their research estimates the population densities of the impacted species and calculates whether remaining habitats will be enough to support these populations. SEED Madagascar plans to publish these findings along with suggestions for long-term lemur conservation in the area. This research will include achievable targets for conserving the existing lemur populations, and will outline plans for relocating and supplementing isolated groups.

Fire at the project site.Mouse Lemur Research

Alongside these population and viability assessments, SEED Madagascar also plans to investigate the true identity of the mouse lemur (Microcebus) species found in Sainte Luce’s forest fragments, after the recent discovery of the regional endemic Microcebus tanosi. It is plausible that this species also exists within the Sainte Luce region, but given its cryptic nature it may have been previously confused with other Microcebus species. Verifying the true identity of the Microcebus spp and the distributional boundaries of individual species is crucial in furthering scientific knowledge of local species.

Brown Lemur Research

SEED Madagascar has also been studying the Brown Lemur (Eulemur collaris) for the past five years, compiling a significant data set of the behaviors displayed in different troops across various forest fragment sizes with varying levels of human disturbance. This research will help inform conservation management planning about the potential loss of plant species that form an integral part of the brown lemurs’ diet.

Partnering with local communities

Conservation education with children.SEED Madagascar involves communities at every stage of project development, implementation, and evaluation. This makes their projects more sustainable and promotes local ownership.

The SEED Madagascar Conservation Programme has had a permanent base in the community of Sainte Luce (southeast Madagascar) for more than five years. Through this relationship, SEED Madagascar draws on the knowledge of the community and uses guides trained by the forest management committee. In return, the programme provides training in ecology, conservation and the English language for local Malagasy, and runs a highly successful Saturday conservation club. Additionally, this volunteer program brings tourists (and the associated income and awareness) to the village.

Conservation education with children.

Conservation education with children.

Capacity building

In order for conservation to be truly sustainable, it needs to be led and implemented by the local community, rather than an outside organization. With this in mind, SEED Madagascar has provided 18 months of training to four youths from the community, who are now able to speak English and are knowledgeable about the importance of native forests and wildlife, and the need to actively conserve them. SEED Madagascar hopes that these individuals will go on to transfer their passion and pride for the forests and their fauna to the rest of the community, who will then do their best to protect them.

Cultural exchange

Research by SEED Madagascar is conducted by a dedicated team of Malagasy and international staff, with volunteer Research Assistants completing a large portion of research. The highly successful SEED Madagascar  volunteer program also welcomes participants from around the world, who make a valuable contribution to data collection over a period of 2-10 weeks. Finally, SEED Madagascar supports international graduate students in their goals to undertake research in Madagascar.

Community health

For over 15 years, SEED Madagascar has been working the improve public health in southeast Madagascar. Their current projects that aim to:

  • improve sanitation and latrine use in Fort Dauphin;
  • increase maternal and child health;
  • support water security and livelihoods programs; and
  • increase access to family planning materials.
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Eden Reforestation Projects

Eden Reforestation Projects logo.Eden Reforestation Projects saves lemurs by planting millions — literally millions — of trees in Madagascar.

Saving lemurs through habitat protection and employment opportunities

Eden Reforestation Projects’ mission is to alleviate extreme poverty through environmental stewardship. Every year Eden Reforestation Projects employs thousands of villagers in Madagascar, Ethiopia, Haiti, and Nepal to plant millions of native tree species resulting in the alleviation of extreme poverty and the restoration of healthy forest systems.

Eden Reforestation Projects has been working in Madagascar since 2007, and their efforts have resulted in the planting of over 77 million dry deciduous and mangrove trees in Madagascar alone. Eden Reforestation Projects is the largest reforestation group in Madagascar, and they aim to plant billions – yes billions – of trees in Madagascar in the next decade.

 

How is Eden Reforestation Projects protecting habitat for lemur conservation?

common brown lemur

A common brown lemur.

Habitat destruction is perhaps the largest threat facing lemurs in Madagascar; some studies estimate that over 80% of vegetation in the country has been degraded or destroyed. However, thanks to Eden Reforestation Projects, 77 million trees were planted across Madagascar between 2007 and 2014. Moving forward, the organization is focusing its reforestation efforts in Madagascar around eight western Malagasy villages. In addition, they partner with one national park (Ankarafantsika), one university (Mahajanga), and one hotel resort with a private forest reserve (Antsanitia).

Mangroves

Eden Reforestation Projects has been working to rehabilitate mangrove estuaries in Madagascar since 2007. These habitats are critical to overall ecosystem health and also provide habitat for several mouse lemur species. In addition, healthy mangrove forests become green pathways for larger lemur species to cross from one patch of dry deciduous forest to another. Thousands of hectares of mangrove forests are now restored, and one large estuary (Mahabana) is nearing completion after the planting of tens of millions of mangrove propagules.

Dry Deciduous Reforestation Projects

IMG_6940In 2012, Eden expanded their work to include dry deciduous forest species. The overwhelming majority of the tree species grown are endemic to Madagascar’s western regions and virtually all of the species grown are native and essential to the well being of the lemur species that inhabit the dry deciduous forests. Their most notable lemur habitat partner is Ankarafantsika National Park; the organization has a full nursery operating within the confines of the National Park with plans to greatly expand operations in the years to come. They also partner with the Antsanitia Resort where they currently operate their largest nursery and project sites. Hundreds of hectares have already been planted and/or protected and the survival rate of saplings is high.

The Hands in the Dirt Training Center

Eden’s systems approach to restoration and protection efforts begin with their nursery and reforestation leadership training center that they affectionately call “The Hands in the Dirt Training Center” (HDTC) located in Mahajanga. The HDTC, as the name implies, emphasizes practical training so that their reforestation managers gain valuable hands-on experience in nursery seedling management and effective reforestation techniques. In partnership with the Mahajanga University, Eden Reforestation Projects uses the HDTC to increase the number of competent managers who have the skill needed to operate a nursery that will produce 100,000 to 500,000 seedlings each year. These managers then partner with local area villages, start nurseries, and get busy with restoring the habitat that is essential to lemur well being.

Fire prevention

Fire is the primary threat to all reforestation efforts in Madagascar, so Eden Reforestation Projects protect their reforestation sites by surrounding them with fire breaks and by hiring emergency fire prevention crews.

Helping lemurs in captivity

Starting in 2015, Eden Reforestation Project’s will begin to focus on developing their captive lemur restoration systems together with Malagasy government authorities. Their ultimate objective is to gradually release captive lemurs back into their natural habitats and transfer lemurs from fractured and degraded patches of forest to healthy and protected habitats.

Partnering with local communities

IMG_6949Eden Reforestation Projects believes in holistic community development, including assisting with the construction of schools, fresh water wells, and some medical services. In addition, Eden Reforestation Projects partners with local communities to provide employment opportunities as tree planters and forest guards. These partnerships initially began with their “Employ to Plant” approach to habitat restoration, which pays thousands of people across multiple developing countries – including Madagascar – to plant trees.

Sustainability of programming

NCS_8591Regarding sustainability, Eden has a diverse approach that begins with the establishment of legal agreements with the local, regional, and national government agencies that authorize the reforestation efforts and include preserving the restored forests in perpetuity. Further, Eden is partnered with Mahajanga University and has an agreement with the Ankarafantsika National Park, where they seek to educate the communities with the goal of preserving the forests and local lemur populations.

Fruit orchards and fuel-efficient stoves

Eden Reforestation Projects knows that reforestation projects are only impactful if other programs are instituted to help the local communities refrain from cutting those new forests back down. Therefore, they have also planted fruit trees as well as trees that can be used in construction. These are beneficial to the local villagers and ensure that their physical and financial needs are accounted for. In addition, in each of the villages, fuel-efficient stoves and/or solar-stoves have been provided, which have largely led to a significant decrease in charcoal production and use in the areas where Eden serves.

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Sainte Luce Reserve and Association FILANA

Sainte Lucie Reserve

The Sainte Luce Reserve protects forests and biodiversity in southeast Madagascar to save endangered lemur populations.

Supporting lemur conservation through habitat protection and ecotourism

IMG_8675The Sainte Luce Reserve, managed locally by the FILANA Association, protects local biodiversity using habitat protection while developing and enhancing ecotourism attractions, promoting environmental education, and improving the well being of the local population. The Sainte Luce Reserve – and the forest that it protects – has been declared as one of the last, and most intact, sections of coastal forest in southeastern Madagascar.

Although the reserve has been historically open only to conservation volunteers and researchers, it has recently begun to open itself to the public. Visitors – a maximum of four people at a time – can visit the reserve for overnight stays; perhaps one of the most unique opportunities to witness wildlife in Madagascar.

Learn about Volunteering at Sainte Luce

What lemur species does the Sainte Luce Reserve protect?

The Sainte Luce Reserve contains five different species of lemIMG_0613urs, some of which the organization actively habituats for researchers and monitors. The species of lemur include:

  • Collared brown lemur (Eulemur collaris)
  • Fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius)
  • Greater dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus major)
  • Mouse lemur (Microcebus sp.)
  • Southern woolly lemur (Avahi meridionalis)

Research is key to many of the reserve’s goals and the reserve has hosted over two dozen scientists and volunteers over the past few years. In addition, they have worked with local primatologists to compile species lists of the avifauna and reptiles local to the area. This information is critical for ongoing research and conservation efforts.

How does the Sainte Luce Reserve protect habitat for lemur conservation?

The Sainte Luce Reserve protects some of the very last parts of coastal forest in southeast Madagascar. The reserve protects some of the most critically endangered micro-habitat in the country and this includes several endangered palm species, Dypsis saintelucei and Beccariophoenix madagascariensis. In 2010, the reserve began a reforestation program that succeeded in planting 2,200 individuals of D. sainteluci and 800 individuals of B. madagascariensis. Given that the total known populations of the two species in the wild are, respectively, approximately 300 and 900 individuals, this was a massively positive step towards their conservation.

Partnering with local communities

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Lemurs at the Sainte Luce Reserve

The Sainte Luce Reserve was established after discussion with the Sainte Luce community at a village meeting, attended by hundreds of local people. As such – and from the start of the reserve – key members of the local community have been included such as locally elected officials, representatives of women’s groups, fishing associations, and other local stakeholders. In addition, the management committee of the reserve includes the President of the COBA (community of natural resources management committee), the village chief, a gender issues specialist, and others. The organization’s aims, are clear in their purpose to support local people and they endeavor to find innovative ways for local people to sustainably benefit from conservation of the natural environment.

The reserve also continues to contribute to local environmental initiatives and platforms. In 2015, they plan to present their two-year plan to the Association MIARO (a local conservation platform in Sainte Luce) for inclusion into their Community Environmental Action Plan.

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Association Mitsinjo

Mitsinjo LogoCommunity-based organization managing two rainforest sites in Central and Eastern Madagascar

Working Towards Sustainable Development in Central Madagascar and Beyond

Association Mitsinjo works for the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable development of the Andasibe region (central Madagascar) and beyond. They manage the forest station at the Analamazoatra Special Reserve, a part of the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. They also manage the Torotorofotsy Ramsar Site in eastern Madagascar—one of the last intact mid-altitudinal marshes in the country.

What Lemur Species does Association Mitsinjo Protect?

Prolemur simus research.

A Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus) being held by a researcher.

More than 11 species of lemurs are known in the two protected areas managed by Association Mitsinjo. The following species are the focus of several Association Mitsinjo programs:

  • Black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata)
  • Greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus)
  • Indri (Indri indri)

 

How does Association Mitsinjo Protect Lemur Habitat?

Management of the Forest Station at the Analamazoatra Special Reserve

One of the Indris.

One of the Indri lemurs!

Association Mitsinjo has been managing the forest station since 2002 and has a contract to manage this program for another 20 years. They aim to preserve and restore 700 hectares of rainforest in this region into pristine lemur habitat.

To date, logging and hunting using snares has almost stopped completely in this area. In addition, they have restored 400 hectares using 400,000 native trees grown in the Association’s nurseries. As a result of their work, Indri populations have increased and the area has become a highlight for tourists visiting Madagascar.

Management of the Torotorofotsy Ramsar Site

Children planting rainforest trees.

Children planting rainforest trees.

Association Mitsinjo has managed the Ramsar Site since 2005. They help enforce its protected area status and facilitate sustainable use of the habitat by the local community.

The Association emphasizes local capacity building, building a variety of different programs including:

  • The construction of a primary school;
  • Community-based monitoring of lemurs, birds, and frogs;
  • Promotion of ecotourism and novel agricultural techniques;
  • And, the establishment of a lemur research camp.

Thanks to their efforts, a new population of greater bamboo lemurs (Prolemur simus) have been found in the area, which are now being monitored.

Partnering with Local Communities

Children learning about nature.

Children learning about nature.

As a community-based Malagasy conservation organization, all of their members are from the local community. To preserve the sustainability of their programming, they have established long-term management contracts for two rainforest sites. Preservation of these areas—for both people and lemurs—form the core of their sustainability strategy. As noted above, they engage in a variety of social development and capacity building programs for the communities they support, including the construction of a primary school.

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