Top Nav

Archive | Ecotourism

Arol Ecolodge

To develop sustainably ecotourism in Antongil Bay.

What is the mission of Arol Ecolodge?

We intend to sustainably develop ecotourism in the Antongil Bay, Masoala, Makira, Nosy Mangabe

We launched our Ecolodge concept on the western part of the Masoala Peninsula in 2001. The Statutes of AROL clearly establish the stated objective “to develop sustainably ecotourism in Antongil Bay”. Thus more than 4000 visitors shared our passion, the discovery of the exceptional terrestrial and marine biodiversity. We have been in charge of the school for about ten years. The village is supplied with hydroelectricity and running water via standpipes thanks to our contribution. Village associations gain direct benefits from ecotourism with our visitors.

Arol Ecolodge achievements and projects

Northern bamboo lemur December 2019 Olivier Fournajoux

– 2017-2018, participation in hydro electrification for 1,500 inhabitants in Ambanizana

– 2014, installation of hydroelectric turbines and water pumps against a commitment to respect environmental law

– since 2011 primary school management

– 2009, production of a CD with the association of women to save the Varecia Rubra.

– 2007, the intervention of an agricultural technician to improve rice production

– since 2012 setting up of the village reserve. Over 2,500 visitors, one dollar each donated to the association.

Planting Bamboo for Northern bamboo lemurs, Hapalemur occidentalis

In the Arol Ecolodge surroundings, on the edge of Masoala forest, we own 1000m² that we intend to plant in green and yellow bamboo.

Five years ago we already plant bamboo in the lodge area which affords us to protect a pair of wild Bamboo lemurs. They came on their own from the nearby primary forest. They already mate and we have four of them coming at night very close from the cabin’s Lodge until now.

Our guests and our staff really enjoy to sight them from 5 pm to 5 am every night in the lodge area.

Classified as vulnerable in 2016,(Lemurs of Madagascar Strategy for Their Conservation) this Bamboo lemur species is probably endangered in Masoala right now. They are still the object of the most serious hunting and trapping by the surrounding communities.

Almost 100 bamboos have already been planted and are growing on our private land right now but it’s not enough.

Unfortunately, Lemurs are trapped by migrants until the beginning of the Covid 19 crises, and they are really endangered more than ever before.

 

Support Arol Ecolodge and its conservation initiatives

You can donate at Arol Ecolodge’s Paypal account  (ecolodgechezarol@gmail.com). Every donation and expense will be clearly recorded.

Continue Reading

Man and the Environment: Net Positive Impact Program

The main objective of Man and the Environment’s Net Positive Impact program is to ensure long-term forest and lemur conservation — and biodiversity conservation in general — through the involvement of local communities in management programs and economic activities in favor of the environment.

Net Positive Impact is a program of the Non-Governmental Organization Man and the Environment, a French organization that works in East and Northwest Madagascar.

What lemur species does Net Positive Impact protect?

Varecia Variegata from the Vohimana forest.

Net Positive Impact operates in three locations.

The Vohimana forest in the Mantadia – Zahamena:

  • Indri indri,
  • Propithecus diadema
  • Varecia variegata
  • Hapalemur griseus
  • Eulemur rubriventer
  • Eulemur fulvus
  • Microcebus lehilahytsara
  • Avahi laniger
  • lepilemur mustelinus
  • Cheirogaleus major
  • Daubentonia madagascariensis
  • Allocebus trichotis
  • Microcebus rufus

Indri Indri from the Vohimana forest

The Tsaramandroso community forest in the buffer zone of the Ankarafantsika National Park:

  • Propithecus coquereli
  • Lepilemur edwardsi
  • Avahi occidentalis
  • Microcebus ravelobensis
  • Eulemur mongoz
  • Microcebus murinus
  • Cheirogaleus medius
  • Eulemur fulvus

The Ambalakalanoro forest in the north-west coast: 

  • Propithecus verreauxi coquereli
  • Eulemur fulvus fulvus
  • Microcebus murinus
  • Cheirogaleus medius
  • Eulemur mongoz
  • Hapalemur griseus occidentalis
  • Phaner furcifer
  • Avali occidentalis
  • Lepilemur edwarsi

How does Net Positive Impact work for lemur conservation?

Habitat protection

As lemurs cannot survive when their natural habitat is in danger, Net Positive Impact works for habitat preservation and environmental conservation in the Vohimana, in the Tsaramandroso and the Ambalakalanoro forests by developing environmental programs. Our main actions are to make these sites “protected areas” to ensure their survival. We also monitor species registration, study their long-term acclimatization and take actions to promote their development in the zone, like reforestation and agro-forestry.

Eco-tourism

An infrastructure to develop ecotourism has been constructed in the Vohimana Forest, in order to raise awareness of locals and visitors about the site’s biodiversity. Visitors are encouraged to participate in monitoring species.

Learn more about Vohimina

Environmental policy

Promote approaches targeting sustainable lemur conservation through the design of management plans including local communities’ development and private sector involvement.

Key Projects in Madagascar

The Vohimana Project

The main objective is protecting the forest and wildlife by giving local populations lasting sources of income based on a management plan ensuring sustainable agriculture and conservation areas.

Net Positive Impact believes that no sustainable and lasting wildlife-saving orientated project can be achieved if local communities remain impoverished, as practices endangering forests and wildlife are the ones that often make locals survive.

Thus, Net Positive Impact started a global program comprising forest and wildlife protection and local communities living conditions improvement.

The Vohimana protected area project started in 2002 with the signature of an agreement transferring the management responsibility of the forest from the government to the NGO Man and the Environment for a renewable period of 25 years. The first step was to define the management plan, design the area for conservation and sustainable development purposes, and organize income generating activities for local communities and social improvement.

Eulemur Rubriventer from the Vohimana forest

The Vohimana project has four principal steps:

1. Securing the Vohimana forest for long-term conservation.

In the 2000’s, the Vohimana forest almost disappeared because of fires and burn-and-slash agriculture. To preserve this fragile ecosystem, the lemurs and other species living in it, the first capital step was to secure the forest.

Notable successes:

  • Man and the Environment was able to transform the Vohimana forest into a protected area in 2002, and it slowed down these dangerous practices. Research institutions (CIRAD) showed that forest cover loss was between 2002 and 2014 less important in Vohimana than the average in the national parks.
  • A local control forest committee has been organized with the aim to prevent traffic and fires.
  • A partnership has been made between biologists and universities, which allowed the beginning of an annual presence of scientists to launch a sustainable and regularly updated species’ population follow-up.

2. Ecotourism as a conservation tool.

The objective is to raise awareness about environment protection and to create a sustainable income source for the locals working on the project. Man and the Environment constructed an eco-shelter to welcome tourists and to secure the forest. In 2017, the infrastructure had been partly destructed by a cyclone.

Notable successes:

  • A basic infrastructure has been built and welcomed visitors on site for many years. Incomes were managed by a local association ran by people from the area who are the beneficiaries as well as guides.
  • A students & volunteers program has been put in place to train students in species monitoring and agroforestry management. Their presence in remote areas of the forest discourages risks of potential trafficking.

3. Sustainable agriculture productivity improvement.

The objective is to support environment-friendly agriculture to prevent slash-and-burn farming or other practices jeopardizing biodiversity. Net positive Impact started a program of ginger cultivation with 120 villagers around the forest. Likewise, a distillery of essential oil has been constructed and is managed by local workers. Ginger seeds have been given to selected farmers but follow-up training should be carried out. Malagasy firms will buy the production.

Notable successes:

  • The former traditional practices were participating in the destruction of the forest. Slash-and-burn cultures, as well as charcoal production, are the most dangerous threats to the forest and the wildlife it shelters. Net Positive Impact managed to launch environmental-friendly agriculture practices. It is now clear that other incomes-generating activities linked to sustainable natural resources’ use could be promoted to support conservation.

4. Social support.

The incomes generated from visitors of the ecotourism infrastructure will be redistributed to the school and the health center the NGO Man and the Environment constructed in a village near Vohimana, Ambavaniasy. The objective is double. First, to contribute to improve the living conditions of the locals, enhance education access and reduce risks of disease. Second, the forest can be seen as a potential source of living conditions improvement, encouraging villagers to protect it and thus the species living in it.

Notable successes:

  • A health center has been built on site and donors found to ensure the salary of the mid wife/nurse. – A primary school has been built on site to allow local access to education. 250 children can go
    to class.
  • A local association has been supported to regroup farmers for eucalyptus firewood forest management (preventing natural forest charcoal production), forestry seedlings production, ecotourism management, forestry control organization and essential oil production.

The Ambalakalanoro project

This projects aims to secure the Ambalakalanoro forest for long term conservation, in order to prevent possible fires or cuts in the forest and allow tourists to visit the site. The Ambalakalanoro forest is now the last shelter of those animals that managed to escape the recurrent fires. Its size is reduced to only 65 hectares, and therefore can be compared more to a private park with exceptional fauna and flora than to a state protected area. The Ambalakalanoro project was launched in 2010.

Notable successes:

  • The natural circus surrounding the forest and protecting the area has been secured.
  • Rare species have been observed, including the fossa, confirming the great biological interest of this tiny remaining forest.
  • Due to the loss of its habitat, the wildlife has no choice but to find shelter in this forest. As a result, the number of lemurs has increased: 66 sifakas now live in the forest.

Propithecus verreauxi coquereli from the Tsaramandroso and Ambalakalanoro forests

The Tsaramandroso project

The forest is located near Ankarafantsika national park. It is under great pressure of deforestation, jeopardizing the wildlife it shelters. The goal of the project is to secure the forest and its wildlife by supporting local communities in preventing slash-and-burn farming or other practices jeopardizing biodiversity. The project was launched in 2015. To do so, Net Positive Impact started a program of a sustainable collection of Saro leaves on site and other aromatic plants. Net Positive Impact also constructed a distillery of essential oils, managed by local farmers.

Notable successes:

  • The distillery employs 12 people. Farmers are motivated to prevent slash-and-burn agriculture and outsiders coming into the forest to over-harvest it.

Community Partnerships and Sustainability

Net Positive Impact partners with local organizations to ensure projects’ sustainability and local involvement.

For the Vohimana project, the local partners are different local associations, Mercie Vohimana, Manarapenitra, Zanatany, each specialized in a field.

For the Ambalakalanoro project, the local partner is the local district.

For the Tsaramandroso project, the local partners are VOI Mamelonarivo and CIRAD.

Donations Are Needed to Support These Projects in Madagascar

Vohimana Project

Donations are need to secure the Vohimana forest for long-term conservation.

Transforming the 25 years management plan agreement into a purchase of a 99-year lease of the forest.
Estimated budget to buy the 560 hectares of  forest: 250 000€

Recently, the government of Madagascar decided to sell the forest and the neighboring lands. The sale will happen at the expense of the local populations, despite their involvement in developing agro-forestry cultures respecting a long-term forest conservation plan. As a result, the risk is that individuals or companies will be able to legally destroy the forest or adopt environmentally destructive activities. Moreover, farmers will lose their lands and those who until now were using sustainable agriculture methods protecting the forest will have no choice but to go back to environment-damaging methods, as slash-and-burn culture. A solution is that Man and the Environment finances the purchase of the forest by obtaining a long-term lease of 99-year between the NGO and the State of Madagascar. Thus, the NGO would ensure the protection of the forest and its species.

Equipment of the forest patrols.
Estimated budget: 5 000€
The patrols cannot be efficient in preventing fires and wood trafficking if the proper equipment is lacking.

Employing one biologist and logistician on the field to organize the stays of biologists and the lemurs, frogs, rare plants (and other species) follow-up.
Estimated budget: 10 000€
Net positive Impact organizes lemur population monitoring. The objective is to achieve a serious database on the evolution of these populations and raise awareness of visitors, who are invited to participate in the data collection.

Securing the land for sustainable agroforestry farming and ensuring training of local farmers.
Estimated budget: 100 000€
The neighboring lands will be sold by the Malagasy government. The risk is that lands may be bought by individuals or firms that do not respect the environment and endanger the wildlife. The NGO can buy the lands and redistribute them to local farmers which agreed to an environment-friendly agriculture.

Ecotourism as a conservation tool.

Improve ecotourism infrastructure.
Estimated budget: 56 000€
Due to the cyclone, the ecotourism infrastructure cannot be functional. To be able to welcome visitors again and generate income, the infrastructure needs to be rebuilt.

Sustainable agriculture productivity improvement.
Estimated budge: 8 000€
Ginger production has been promoted, offering great opportunities to local farmers. Different plants of economic interest have been identified and are now promoted. Local farmers will be trained in improved sustainable practices.

Continue production and training for essential oils.
Estimated budget: 15 000€
A first production unit of essential oil has been provided and local community trained to process local plants for which sustainable markets have been found. Leaves from the forest are being sustainably used for production. Two new stills will be added to increase the production of essential oil, following demand.

Training in sustainable agriculture.
Estimated budget: 4 000€
Training sessions have been started to promote sustainable agriculture in place of slash-and-burn agriculture and farmers started to show interest for more training. Man and the Environment technicians will provide more training sessions on sustainable agriculture.

Social support.
Estimated budget: 3000€
For the health center to become functional, a mid-wife and a nurse need to be employed full-time and health supplies need to be bought, before the added value from the essential oil production allows paying these costs.

Education.
Estimated budget: 20 000€
The villagers approved the primary school the NGO constructed, and now ask for four classrooms for kids from 11 to 15 years old.

Training in Management and Accounting.
Estimated budget: 3000€
The local association is functioning but needs to be trained in management and accounting.

Training in Medicinal Plants.
Estimated budget: 8 000€
Promotion of a proper use of safe and efficient local medicinal plants.

The Ambalakalanoro Project

Secure Forest.
Estimated budget: 70 000€
It is important to secure the forest and its surroundings to ensure conservation by obtaining a long-term lease of 99 years for the forest itself.

Research.
Estimated budget: 10 000€
Organize studies of fauna, its long-term acclimatization and understand the actions necessary to promote its development in the zone.

Raise Awareness.
Estimated budget: 5 000€
Communicate about the site in order to draw national and international interest to conservation.

Promote Ecotourism.
Estimated budget: 5 000€

Promote hotel facilities development on the surrounding areas, companies that will have long-term interest to preserve an appealing environment for patrons and to involve local population in environmental protection.

The Tsaramandroso Project

Distillery.
Estimated budget: 10 000€
Install a new professional distillery on site.

Medicine Plants.
Estimated budget: 5 000€

Identify and standardize medicinal and aromatic plants of immediate commercial interest for local populations.

Donate

  • Net Positive Impact accepts online donations on its website.
  • MATE can ensure that donations from the Lemur Conservation Network go directly to lemur and environmental programs.

Learn More

 

 

Continue Reading

Halt Poverty Madagascar

Halt Poverty Madagascar takes action on one of Madagascar’s biggest issues — Poverty — through ecotourism.

Halt Poverty Madagascar empowers the people of Madagascar through sustainable development focused on eco-tourism.

Halt Poverty Madagascar was launched in November 2015 to empower human capital in tourism-based activities to address the clearing of local forests and the high rate of unemployment within the regions of Fianarantsoa: Amoron’i Mania, Ihorombe, Mahatsiatra Ambony, Vatovavy Fitovinany.

Empowering the community through training that improves the quality of Madagascar’s tourism workforce.

We hope to increase the number of skilled people involved in hospitality, tourism, and tour guiding to better align with international and sustainable standards. Our training is focused on improving language skills and tourism-related competencies so that people are brought out of poverty by work in tourism and therefore value sustainable environmental practices.

We achieve this goal through initiatives that:

  • Contribute to environmental protection through eco clubs.
  • Encourage local people to increase sustainable behavior in ways to tackle deforestation and keep their surrounding clean.
  • Use tourism to provide people with means of escaping the heavy dependence on threatened natural resources.

Education

Tour guides

Five modules were delivered to 20 participants in each of the five regions of Fianarantsoa. 92 people were trained and 89 were certified to become tour guides. We trained tour guides on cross-cultural communication, first-aid emergency, leadership, reporting, and delivering commentary on Madagascar and Malagasy life.

Eco-clubs

The organization launched eco-clubs where they created environmental campaigns through workshops, FM broadcast and online materials. They promote environmental education among residents to address unsustainable practices through activities like cleaning and greening practices.

Community Partnerships and Sustainability

Capacity Building Programs

Sustainable development aims to ensure that environmental and cultural treasures last for future generations. In less developed countries like Madagascar, the immediate concern of economic survival often requires urgent solutions which don’t take environmental sustainability into account.

Halt Poverty Madagascar is driven to provide tourism-based solutions that address environmental degradation and poverty. Our projects have seen the gradual acceptance of more sustainable practices as communities start to see the programs’ benefits.

 

Increased Knowledge and Understanding of Tourists

During internships, our projects train future tour guides on cross-cultural communication. Awareness of verbal and non-verbal communication among participants improved. Understanding the needs and interests of guests is a key component of our tour guide training.

 

 

 

 

Eco-clubs Adopt New Environmental Conservation Activities

The organizational structure of the eco clubs has become more stable compared to the time of the project’s debut, which shows a deep commitment from participants. Fianarantsoa, Manakara, and Ranomafana elected their own board of committee. The eco clubs are currently undertaking major organizational reforms to improve their productivity.

Donations

Online donations are accepted via Paypal. Please email haltpoverty@blueline.mg for more information.

Continue Reading

Dahari

Dahari ComoresDahari shapes sustainable and productive landscapes with Comorian communities.

Supporting lemur conservation in the Comoros.Dahari Comores eulemur mongoz

Dahari is the only Lemur Conservation Network member undertaking lemur-related work in the Comoros, a small nation to the west of the northern tip of Madagascar, and the only place where lemurs can be found naturally outside of Madagascar. As part of their work, the organization undertakes a broad range of conservation-related programming, livelihood improvement with local communities, ecotourism projects, and habitat protection work.

What lemur species does Dahari protect?

Dahari Comores Technician Ishaka looking for lemurs in a treeDahari undertakes habitat protection and ecotourism work in the Moya forest area on the southern island of Anjouan. Here, the organization has been working to protect the mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz) since November 2014.

Mongoose Lemur Research Project

Since November 2014, Dahari has been undertaking a research project on the Mongoose Lemur. This project aims to compare the genetic material of the mongoose lemurs of Madagascar and of Anjouan (Comoros) to find out whether the genetic diversity of the two populations is sufficient to ensure the species’ survival.

This initiative – being undertaken in partnership with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and funded by Conservation International, the Primate Action Fund, and the Margot Marsh biodiversity fund – will help determine the best way to target conservation programs for this species. Further research and conservation programs will be identified once this initial research has been completed.

Partnering with Local Communities

DahariAs a development and conservation NGO, Dahari has a wide range of activities with local communities, including habitat protection actions that will benefit the Mongoose lemur.

 Agricultural work

Since 2008, Dahari has supported over 2500 farmers innine villages around the Moya forest in the south of Anjouan to improve their agricultural yields and revenues. The NGO proposes techniques that restore and maintain fertility to improve yields in the long-term, whilst also making agricultural practices more compatible with forest conservation. Dahari benefits from the technical support of the Centre International pour la Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD) on its rural development work.

Participatory conservation of the Livingstone’s fruit bat

Since September 2014, Dahari has been running a conservation program for the Livingstone fruit bat (Pteropus livingstonii), an endangered species endemic to Anjouan and Moheli islands in the Comoros. The conservation program is implemented in partnership with local communities in order to protect the roost sites of the bat by  finding solutions that allow the villagers and the Livingstone’s fruit bat to live alongside each other, without the needs of one hindering those of the other.

Supporting communities with water management and reforestation

The Comoros suffered from the highest rate of deforestation in the world between 2000 and 2010 according to UN figures. This has had a huge impact on soil fertility and water availability – 30 of 45 permanent rivers on Anjouan now flow intermittently. Dahari is therefore developing a reforestation program and a water management project in partnership with local communities on the island of Anjouan.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Chances for Nature

logo_einheitsgru_CC

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading