To develop sustainable ecotourism in Antongil Bay in northeast Madagascar
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.
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.
Ny Tanintsika works to empower communities to conserve lemurs through a multifaceted approach that builds local capacity, addresses livelihoods concerns and promotes stakeholder collaboration and communication.
Lemurs are crucial to Madagascar’s rich and thriving biodiversity. The decline in lemur populations and the rapid extinction of a number of species, due to habitat loss and hunting, is jeopardising this biodiversity.
Currently, a number of forest communities hunt and eat lemurs as a primary source of protein in their diet, or keep them as pets. Although protection legislation exists, it is not widely known, understood nor enforced. Habitat loss due to forest in-migration for ‘slash and burn’ agriculture, deforestation and logging is an equally crucial factor in this Project.
Which lemur species does Ny Tanintsika work with?
The Project targets lemur taxa that are categorized as being Critically Endangered, and in a listed action plan locality site – the COFAV. The Lemur Conservation Strategy lists the COFAV as being home to 21 lemur taxa of which 6 are critically endangered, 7 endangered, 4 vulnerable, 1 near threatened and 3 data deficient.
COFAV has the highest number of lemur species of any protected area in Madagascar – of which a disproportionate number are in elevated threat categories. However, scientific research on biodiversity has largely been limited to national parks.
Threatened Species Targeted:
Golden Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur aureus): Critically Endangered C2a(i)
Other threatened species benefitting from the project:
The project area comprises 32,000 ha of the COFAV (which totals 314,186 ha) and includes the rainforest of 4 municipalities:
To the east: Ambolomadinika, Antodinga and Ankarimbelo (Ikongo district, Vatovavy Fitovinany region)
To the west: Ambohimahamasina (Ambalavao district, Haute Matsiatra region)
It focuses on the areas around the 3 main footpaths crossing the rainforest corridor east-west.
Furthest point north: 21°54’23.60″S, 47°14’30.48″E, south: 22° 5’46.19″S, 47°10’57.89″E
Furthest point east: 21°56’32.78″S, 47°20’48.98″E, west: 22° 4’37.24″S, 47° 9’42.82″E
How does Ny Tanintsika work for lemur conservation?
Ny Tanintsika empowers COFAV communities to conserve lemurs through a multifaceted approach: building local capacity, addressing livelihoods concerns, and promoting stakeholder collaboration and communication.
Empowering Local Communities through Data Collection and Lemur Monitoring
Whilst focusing on Hapalemur Aureus species, it will enable the gathering of data on all primates in the previously unresearched forests of Ambohimahamasina and three neighbouring areas. Data collection on lemurs will be conducted by local stakeholders, and forest inhabitants will become lemur monitors to ensure project sustainability.
Additionally, 12 signs encouraging lemur conservation will be erected along Ambohimahamasina’s 3 main forest footpaths crossing to the eastern side of the forest ‘corridor’.
Sustainable Agriculture and Reforestation
Support will be given to forest inhabitants to make their lifestyles more sustainable. Agricultural production on deforested land will be boosted through training on improved techniques, with 6 community tree nurseries operational to provide saplings for agroforestry, reforestation and forest restoration to meet both human and lemur needs. Numerous awareness-raising initiatives will be combined with promotion of alternative sources of income and protein, including small-scale fish-farming and chicken-rearing, and the capacity-building of Community Forest Management associations to reduce lemur poaching and habitat loss.
By the end of the project:
50% of forest dwellers will have lemur-friendly income generation activities and alternative sources of protein.
60% reduction in Lemur hunting in target area of COFAV.
45,000 endemic trees planted to meet lemur and human needs.
10% boost in agricultural production on deforested land in the target area of COFAV.
90% of people living in villages bordering the rainforest project area are aware of the uniqueness of local biodiversity and report an increased appreciation of lemurs by the end of the project.
20% increase in secondary school enrollment for the northern project area zone for improved level of education for children who live in and near the rainforest.
No new human migration into the rainforest target zone, with the stabilisation of forest cover in the target area.
The capacity of 9 Community Forest Management associations is strengthened in management and governance, and particularly legislation.
Knowledge of lemurs in the project area covering 32,000 ha is improved.
Stakeholder collaboration and communication is improved through the piloting of a new approach and new technology to monitor forest cover in the Ambohimahamasina municipality.
Communities are empowered to take action toward securing land tenure around the target area.
The Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation exists because more than 90% of lemur species are now facing extinction, making them the most threatened group of mammals on earth. MKLF hopes to lead the effort to save these remarkable creatures. We are committed to education of local people and the conservation of lemurs and their habitats.
What’s the story of the Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation?
Essential to our organization are Marat Karpeka and Dr. Russell Mittermeier. Marat Karpeka is a successful entrepreneur who chose to give back through donating to various wildlife conservation organizations. Having a passion for lemurs, and wanting to do more, he founded the Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation. Consulting with Dr. Russell Mittermeier, a world-renowned primatologist, MKLF is able to select the most efficient lemur projects with measurable results.
Photo by Scott Pollard
Which lemur species does Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation work with?
Black blue-eyed lemur
Milne-Edwards sportive lemur
And other endemic species to northwest region of Madagascar
Where does MKLF work?
MKLF works in northwestern Madagascar. They work closely with AEECL in Sahamalaza National Park.
How does Marat Karpeka Lemur Foundation work for lemur conservation?
Construction of a new school in Antafiabe village
The overall goal is to build the permanent school in the village Antafiabe, part of the Sahamalaza National Park. The building will include 2 rooms of 49 m² each and one separate toilet block. Each room will have one blackboard, one cupboard, one desk and one chair for the teacher.
We want to shift our focus to help the community. We believe that the community has the strongest impact on the environment. The school will be a cornerstone in educating the next generation so that they are more equipped in making a difference.
Antafiabe is the last village that leads to the Ankarafa forest that has a school. The village is dedicated to environment protection and has since been active in reforestation, creating of firebreaks, and hosting the lemur festival.
The building of the existing school that local villagers have been using is already old (around 50 years) and is unable to accommodate all the students and teachers. There are not enough tables and chairs for everyone in old school. During the rainy seasons classes are not being conducted because of the leaks if the roof. The new school will also motivate the teachers, who won’t need to worry that their lesson plans will be disrupted if classes get canceled.
We hope that you share our aspiration to see that these children become successful by getting to complete their education. This does not stop with the building but some help will be needed year on year to ease the burden and help children make their dreams a reality.
Community Partnerships and Sustainability
We work closely with our partner AEECL and more specifically project manager Guy Randriatahina. He’s been working in this area for a long time, so the local population trusts him and is willing to cooperate.
Please donate here! We can accept credit cards, which makes the donation process very easy for everyone around the globe. It’s quick and safe.
Supporting lemur conservation in northwest Madagascar through focused outreach and education programming.
Planet 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:
How is Planet Madagascar protecting habitat for lemur conservation?
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.
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
Local 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.
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 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.”
Along 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.
The Lemur Conservation Foundation helps conserve lemurs through managed breeding programs, outreach, and on-the-ground conservation.
Saving lemurs through managed breeding programs, educational outreach, and on-the-ground conservation efforts.
Critically endangered mongoose lemur born at LCF in 2014.
The Lemur Conservation Foundation (LCF) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the primates of Madagascar through managed breeding, scientific research, and education. The foundation and accompanying lemur reserve focus on fostering natural lemur behavior to encourage a dynamic population.
LCF supports educational programs started by the late Dr. Alison Jolly in Madagascar and is developing content to bring those programs to classrooms in the United States. In addition, LCF provides financial support to assist in the establishment of a tourist and research camp in Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve in northeast Madagascar, home to the elusive silky sifaka and a unique population of indri with black pelage.
What lemurs does the Lemur Conservation Foundation protect?
At their reserve in Florida, the Lemur Conservation Foundation is home to over 45 lemurs of six different species, most of which are critically endangered or endangered. LCF is a Certified Related Facility with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and participates in their Species Survival Plans which work to maintain a genetic safety net for a variety of lemur species. The species currently housed at the reserve are:
Collared lemurs (Eulemur collaris)
Mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz)
Sanford’s lemur (Eulemur sanfordi)
Common brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus)
Red ruffed lemurs (Varecia rubra)
Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta)
How is the Lemur Conservation Foundation protecting habitat for lemur conservation?
Demarcation signs funded by LCF to outline the boundary of the Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve.
Lemur Conservation Foundation is supporting projects in Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve (ASSR), a large mountainous rainforest in northeastern Madagascar, which has long been recognized as a lemur priority site that has received little attention. LCF has partnered with the Madagascar National Parks to provide boundary demarcations for this protected area and is working towards developing a site called Camp Indri into a functioning base camp for tourists and researchers. At least 11 lemur species are found here including:
LCF also collaborates with École Normale Supérieure (ENS), the teachers’ training arm of the University of Antananarivo. This partnership supports the students of ENS in their field research and field work theses at the Berenty Reserve, a private wildlife reserve in southern Madagascar. Research done at Berenty includes lemur census surveys and plant phenology.
Helping lemurs in captivity
A family of Lemur catta in one of LCF’s semi free-ranging forests, where field students can observe lemurs in a natural environment.
The Lemur Conservation Foundation operates a 100 acre reserve in Myakka City, Florida. The reserve is set up with two semi free-ranging forests, each approximately ten acres, and two traditional enclosure buildings. As a Certified Related Facility with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, LCF participates in the Eulemur Species Survival Plan (SSP), Ruffed Lemur SSP, and Ring-tailed Lemur SSP, which include a global network of institutions working towards the propagation of selected lemur species in order to ensure the healthy existence of those species whose survival is in peril.
LCF also hosts field training programs, in which professors and their students utilize the facility and the lemur colony for behavioral observations and research on social dynamics and cognitive skills, as well as habitat use and food selection. These training programs produce future primatologists and conservation biologists which will carry the conservation imperative forward for lemurs and other endangered species and fostering and inspiring conservation based careers is an invaluable part of LCF’s mission.
Partnering with local communities
The first book in the Ako Project series, Ako the Aye-Aye.
LCF has the pleasure of continuing on Dr. Alison Jolly’s legacy with the Ako Project, in collaboration with Dr. Hanta Rasamimanana, Dr. Jolly’s former colleague, professor at ENS, and Madagascar’s “Lemur Lady”. The Ako Project, sponsored by EnviroKidz, is an educational children’s book series, translated in both English and Malagasy, which is intended to teach Malagasy children about different species of lemur in a fun, tangible way. The books come with matching curriculum to help teachers convey the conservation themes and concepts envisioned for the stories.
Hazo Tokana Tsy Mba Ala undertakes research and reforestation efforts in northern Madagascar.
Supporting lemur conservation through research and reforestation
Hazo 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?
At 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 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.
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
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:
To promote world-class research in one of the world’s most biologically diverse and unique ecosystems;
To encourage environmental conservation by developing ecologically sustainable economic development programs with local villages; and
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?
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’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.
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 thanks to the help of an emergency fund.
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.
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?
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).
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
In 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 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
Eden 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
Regarding 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.