Selling forest conservation in Madagascar’s Tsitongambarika forest

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Madagascar is famend for its wealthy and peerless fauna and flora. Greater than 80% of its species are discovered nowhere else on earth. The island has extra distinctive species than any comparably-sized landmass. Nevertheless, this nation additionally has one of many highest deforestation charges on this planet, having misplaced round 23% of its forest cowl since 2000.

The overwhelming majority of forest clearance takes place in an effort to to make method for native subsistence agriculture. This risk is additional amplified by a rising rural inhabitants experiencing excessive poverty, which drives farmers to open up new croplands by felling and burning forests.

In Tsitongambarika, the follow of tavy – a conventional Malagasy farming follow that makes use of the ‘slash-and-burn’ technique to clear forests – along with bush fires, unlawful logging, looking, and varied varieties of harvesting, are the primary pressures that threaten the survival of this irreplaceable forest.

Madagascar Blue Robin, copyright Sam Woods, from the surfbirds galleries

“All these pressures are linked to 4 elements: dangerous governance, dangerous administration, lack of environmental schooling and, above all, the poor way of life of the native inhabitants,” explains Andriamandranto Ravoahangy, the coordinator of the Forest Conservation Programme at Asity Madagascar.

Asity Madagascar (BirdLife Companion), along with Vohimaintso Tsara Tantana, a confederation of 55 grassroots communities surrounding Tsitongambarika, got here collectively to co-manage the 60,000-hectare protected space. Collectively, they’re working to cut back stress on the pure assets of the rainforest by selling environmentally-friendly income-generating actions for the encircling communities.

On this area, most farmers lack the technical know-how, monetary means and generally motivation to undertake extra sustainable and environment friendly methods. Moreover, schooling ranges are low: fewer than 50 per cent of kids attend college, and a few areas even lack colleges altogether.

In an effort to protect Tsitongambarika, it’s important to make the inhabitants conscious of the significance of forest conservation and to coach them in sustainable methods of utilizing forest assets. “It’s by way of coaching that we hope to see a change and a behaviour change,” says Ravoahangy.

To attain this, Asity Madagascar opened a coaching centre in Manatantely on eleventh June 2021. On the inauguration ceremony, area people members and private and non-private companions welcomed the creation of the centre, which was arrange with the assist of the Hempel Basis, Vanguard and BirdLife Worldwide.

The centre will assist enhance earnings sources, and consequently residing requirements, of Tsitongambarika’s native communities by way of actions that contribute to the sustainable administration of the forest. Additional, trainees can be supported financially to begin sustainable micro-projects, akin to agriculture, livestock, beekeeping or fishing and fish farming, to encourage them to take up financial actions that don’t hurt the setting.

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