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INTRODUCTION History Goal and five-year objective Our five-key principles




ACTIVITIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS Providing a legal framework for long term conservation Community based management of natural resources and alternatives Research and Monitoring Restoration Awareness-raising and Communication Poverty reduction

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At the start of the millennium, the staff of Missouri Botanical Garden-Madagascar prided ourselves on being the most ac ve organiza on in the world researching and sharing knowledge about the Malagasy flora and developing in-country competence in field botany and taxonomic research. Today, we are s ll the most effec ve organiza on in these respects, but we are also one of Madagascar’s most successful and innova ve in achieving community-based conserva on. This new development originated from the desire of MBG’s young Malagasy staff not only to discover and understand their highly threatened flora, but also to play an ac ve role in hal ng its loss. To address this crical need, we first conducted research to iden fy 79 priority areas for plant conserva on (PAPCs); then, in 2002, we launched a pilot project to conserve, through a sustainable community-based ini a ve, one of these areas – the Agnalazaha Forest, a rare and precious fragment of li oral forest in southeast Madagascar. Success at this site encouraged us to expand our conserva on program, and today we support conserva on projects at eleven PAPCs, distributed throughout the country, with a total area of nearly 60,000 ha. All but one of these sites (the ny Ankafobe Forest, which is managed as a community reserve) have now formally been given Temporary Protec on by the Malagasy government, the first of two stages in the process leading to permanent designa ons as a New Protected Area.

Goal and five-year objec ve
In April 2009 a strategic planning mee ng was held in Antananarivo a ended by staff members of MBG’s Conserva on Unit. The par cipants formulated our program’s goal and developed a five year objec ve, as follows: Our goal is “To conserve Madagascar’s nave flora in its natural ecosystems in order to support and enrich life”. Our five year objec ve (2009 to 2014) is “To achieve the effec ve management of eleven priority sites for plant conserva on according to the specific objec ves of each site and with progressive increase in par cipa on of the local communi es”.

Our five key principles MBG’s conserva on program is based on five underlying principles that guide all aspects of the development and implementa on of our work.
Analy cal, informa on-based decisionmaking We believe that good management strategies can be developed only when based on thorough understanding of each site’s specific human, physical and biological environment and the par cular opportunies and threats that flow from this context. We reject both the unthinking implementa on of ac vi es at a succession of sites irrespec ve of need and decision-making based on unsupported preconcep ons. Rather, we develop work



plans based on the collec on and analysis of informa on. When methods are unproven, they are monitored and tested using an experimental approach. Conserva on by the people for the people Although Madagascar’s flora and fauna are highly valued by scien sts and much appreciated by tourists, we believe that the primary beneficiaries of conserva on should be local people. Never would we want to exclude locals from their natural heritage and create reserves that serve only researchers, tourists and other outsiders. Such an approach would be both unfair and ul mately unlikely to result in long-term biodiversity conserva on. To avoid such exclusion while s ll achieving conserva on is a major challenge that requires valorizing each area for local stakeholders, developing in them a sense of ownership and responsibility for the site, and empowering them to oversee the sustainable management of the natural resources in their area, thereby crea ng a “stewardship paradigm” in which it makes more sense for them to use natural wealth sustainably than to squander it. Inclusiveness We believe that durable conserva on projects must be inclusive and involve those from all groups in society, including the young, elderly, women, economically less advantaged, and new immigrants. O en it is the young and new immigrants to an area who lacking their own land and are forced to seek their livelihoods from the non-sustainable exploita on of natural resources. Although quick results can be obtained by focusing efforts on winning the support of the powerful, there is o en a rapid turnover among these people, and today’s powerful ally can be quickly replaced by his/her compe tor, with disastrous results for the project. To understand fully the threats to a site and to develop effective methods to diminish these threats

requires the full engagement of the en re community. Respect for tradi ons Most rural Malagasy are conserva ve and some mes slow to adopt innova ons. Therefore, community-based conservaon must find ways of working with tradions and, where possible, valorize local cultures to achieve the project’s objecves. O en, conserva on approaches are perfectly consistent with local cultures and their acceptability much enhanced if framed in this context. In addi on, we believe that unwri en societal rules are much more powerful in controlling abusive exploita on of natural resources than is na onal legisla on, and certainly more resilient to the whims of na onal poli cians. Grassroots project concep on and implementa on In many conserva on organiza ons, the best people are based at headquarters, managing projects from far away through locally recruited intermediates, using simple “one size fits all” solu ons that regularly yield disappoin ng results. There is li le opportunity or mo va on to develop the personal commitment and understanding needed to fight for the kind of change that is urgently required or to grasp and deal with the complex and sitespecific causes of environmental degradaon. To avoid this scenario, at MBG Madagascar we place our best people closest to the problem, challenge them to understand the complex reasons for the environmental degrada on in their communi es, and trust and empower them to work with local stakeholders to develop and implement an effec ve program of ac vi es to achieve for their project goal.



Agnalazaha Forest
(Conserva on Facilitator : Ludovic Reza) With an area of 2250 ha, this forest is one of the largest fragments of li oral forest (low-eleva on humid evergreen forest on sand) remaining in Madagascar. It is located in SE Madagascar, about 50 km south of the town of Farafangana, within Mahabo-Mananivo Commune. Our inventories show that the forest and its adjacent marshes, rivers and lakes support a rich flora and fauna including several species that are locally endemic and endangered, such as the newly discovered Diospyros mahaboensis and Ivodea mahaboensis, and the very rare and threatened lemur Eulemur cinereiceps. The forest also makes an important contribu on to local livelihoods through the diverse goods and services that it provides. Our major achievement at this site is to reduce anarchic exploita on and thereby ensure Agnalazaha’s resources are available to both present and future genera ons. Figure 1 : Loca on of project sites

Anadabolava-Betsimalaho Thicket
(Conserva on Facilitator : Angelos Josso Tianarifidy) The 18,000 ha Anadabolava-Betsimalaho Thicket in southern Madagascar is important for several reasons: it is an almost pris ne example of thicket vegeta on, which in places is tall and almost forest like in aspect; it supports a rich biodiversity that includes several locally endemic plant and animal species including the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur ca a) and the radiated tortoise (Geochelone radiata); and it has a major role in protec ng the watershed of the Mandrare River, the principal source of water for 350,000 people. However, the site is threatened both by shifng cul va on, which currently cons tutes an important means of livelihood for the local popula on, and by wildfires, started by local ca le rustlers to hide their tracks. Our main ac vity at this site is to help local farmers cul vate crops in permanent fields adjacent to the Mandrare River.

Analalava Forest
(Conserva on Facilitator: Anselme Tilahimena) This 200 ha par ally degraded, low-elevaon, humid forest is located in eastern Madagascar close to the popular coastal tourist resort town of Foulpointe. The site is important for conserva on because of its rich flora, which includes 26 palm species and ten plant species endemic to the



site. It is important socially because it is the only remaining fragment of natural vegeta on in the area and has a high potenal for genera ng wealth and contribu ng to local livelihoods as a tourist a rac on. The site was previously threatened by shi ing cul va on, mber extrac on and wildfires, but only the la er threat persists today. Without our interven on at this site, which began in 2005, the Analalava forest, now regenera ng strongly, would have disappeared.

Analavelona Sacred Forest
(Conserva on Facilitator : Tefiharison Andriamihajarivo) This 15,000 ha sub-humid forest is located in the dry southwest and exists only because of a special local climate. This pocket of humidity in an otherwise very dry part of Madagascar provides a refuge for many species normally associated with the we er eastern part of the country, and its isola on has also led to the evoluon of a number of locally endemic plants and animals. The forest is nearlypris ne because the local Bara people consider it to being habited by the spirits of their ancestors, and therefore they strictly limit access and exploita on within this spiritual refuge. Recently these restric ons have begun to weaken due to the encroachment of outside cultures. The forest also seems to be increasingly threatened by wild fires that now frequently burn the surrounding grassland and some mes penetrate into the forest. Our major ac vi es at Analavelona are to support tradi onal beliefs concerning the forest and to enable local people to protect the forest from fires by the installaon of firebreaks.

Malagasy Central Highlands, a two hours’ drive from the capital city of Antananarivo. It consists of three sub-humid evergreen forest patches located within adjacent valleys and surrounded by species-poor and low-produc vity anthropogenic grassland. It is primarily important because it contains most of the world’s total popula on of one of Madagascar’s rarest and most threatened trees, Schizolaena tampoketsana (Sarcolaenaceae). The main threat to the Ankafobe Forest is burning from wild fires, and one of our main annual ac vi es at this site is encircling the forest with double firebreaks. Without this ac on, the forest, with its precious flora, would already have been reduced to cinders. Among the eleven sites where we work, the community adjacent to the Ankafobe forest is the most advanced in accep ng full management responsibility for their natural resources.

Ankarabolava-Agnakatrika Forest
(Conserva on Facilitator : Hubert Andriamaharoa) This is a 2400 ha, highly fragmented, loweleva on, humid forest on basalt is the only significant area of natural vegeta on remaining in Vangindrano District, in south-eastern Madagascar. It is being conserved to protect its excep onally diverse flora, which includes a large number of local endemics, and also for its fauna,which includes the endangered lemur Eulemur cinereiceps. The forest is also the source of several streams that irrigate adjacent rice fields. In the last two decades, two-thirds of this forest has been destroyed by shi ing cul va on and mber extrac on, and these threats, although diminished, persist at the site. Also, fires started to control weeds infesng fields within the forest are o en poorly controlled and burn several hectares of trees each year. Shi ing cul vaon is prac ced mainly by young men who lack other land to farm.

Ankafobe Forest
(Coach : Jean-Jacques Rasolofonirina) This ny (33 ha) forest fragment is located on the Tampoketsa of Ankazobe, on the



Ibity Massif
(Conserva on Facilitator : Mamisoa Andrianjafy) The 6136 ha Ibity Massif is a spectacular quartz mountain (whose summit reaches 2050m) located on Madagascar’s Central Highlands, 25 km south of Antsirabe. Its natural vegeta on includes gallery forest, sclerophyllous woodland, shrubby grassland, and vegeta on specially adapted to growing in rocky sites. Three hundred and fi y plant species have been recorded from Ibity, at least eight of which occur nowhere else. Most of the flora is not included in any other protected area. The site is less important than others for animals, but our inventories have shown the presence of threatened species of amphibians and rep les and a rare Highland colony of fruit bats. Ibity’s biodiversity is threatened by wildfires and ar sanal gold-mining. Although fires are a natural part of the ecology of the site, their high frequency is preven ng the regenera on of the sclerophyllous woodland. Currently there are ca. 250 gold miners seeking this precious metal just outside the south-western limits of the protected area and there is a risk that they could invade the reserve. To reduce this threat we have invested heavily in developing a posi ve rela onship with them by helping them create an associa on and facilita ng their endeavors to legalize their ac vi es.

source for the many thousands of hectares of irrigated ricecul va on on the surrounding plains.The forest is threatened byshifng cul va on, vanilla cul va on and the selec ve exploita on of trees for mberand precious woods (most notably rosewood). While indigenous villagers are anxious to conserve the forest (as a source of water), recent immigrants to the area areforced into abusive exploita on due to the lack of good farming land on the plains. The successful conserva on of the Makirovana-Tsihomanaomby Forest will require providing these immigrants with new sources of livelihood that do not depend on the destruc on of the forest.

Oronjia Forest
(Conserva on Facilitator : Jeremie Razafitsalama) Oronjia is a fragment of dry deciduous forest located on a sand-covered limestone peninsula overlooking the huge natural harbor of Antsiranana in far northern Madagascar. Following decades of unsustainable exploita on of the forest to provide mber and charcoal, as well as clearance for manioc cul va on, the forest is now very degraded and would surely have now disappeared without our interven on, which began in 2007. Despite its condion, the forest s ll retains most of its original flora and, if exploita on can be controlled for a decade or two, will regenerate. The major part of the proposed New Protected Area, which covers 1648 ha, lies within a military base. Our major work at this site is to facilitate the sustainable use of natural resources by the local community and to valorize the site for ecotourism.

Makirovana-Tsihomanaomby Forest
(Conserva on Facilitator: Jeremie Razafitsalama) This 5200 ha of fragmented, low-elevaon, humid forest is situated on a range of smallmountains in north-eastern Madagascar, within the communes of Anjangoveratra,Antsirabe Nord and Marogaona. Preliminary biological inventories revealed a rich floraand fauna that includes several locally endemic and threatened species. The forest is also an important water

Pointe à Larrée
(Conserva on Facilitator: Adolphe Lehavana) This sandy peninsula juts out into the Indian Ocean opposite to Île Ste Marie, on Madagascar’s east coast. The proposed protected area encompasses a complex



mosaic of vegeta on types including li oral forest, low-eleva on humid forest, swamp and marshes, all of which are inadequately represented in Madagascar’s exis ng network of of parks and reserves. The swamp forest is par cularly remarkable, with an aspect that resembles the Florida Everglades. The woody vegeta on of Pointe à Larrée has been transformed over the past two decades because of anarchic exploita on of mber, shi ing cul va on and wildfires.

Vohibe Forest
(Conserva on Facilitator: Fortunat Rakotoarivony) This 3117 ha block of mid- and low-elevaon forest is located on the lower slopes of Madagascar’s great eastern escarpment, 72 km west of the coastal town of Vatomandry. It is part of the AnkenihenyZahamena Forest Corridor, thought to be of key importance in enabling the flora of eastern Madagascar to adapt to climate change. Vohibe includes a rare example of almost pris ne low-eleva on forest, the vegeta on type with the highest biological diversity of any ecosystem in Madagascar, yet under-represented in the country’s network of protected areas. To date, 11 species of lemurs (including the largest extant species, Indri indri), 80 species of birds, 23 species of rep les, and 47 species of amphibians have been recorded here. Our interven on at this site began in 2007 and an cipated the invasion of the area by shi ing cul vators origina ng from Madagascar’s growing rural populaon.

usefully classifed into six strategic axes, and it is this framework that is used below to describe our ac vi es and achievements during 2012. As in the two previous years, during 2012 funding was inadequate to implement a full program at several sites, making it necessary to priori ze our ac vi es. In par cular, we focused on suppor ng the community management of natural resources, yet even within this cri cally important strategic axis, our ability to provide real alterna ves for local stakeholders to the non-sustainable exploitaon of natural resources remains inadequate.

Providing a legal framework for long term conserva on
The successful long-term communitybased conserva on of a site requires a compa ble and na onally recognized legal framework. Fortuitously, the decision of MBG-Madagascar to intervene in the conserva on of a set of priority areas for plant conserva on coincided with the Malagasy Government’s declara on, at the World Parks Congress in Durban in 2003, that the country would triple the area managed primarily for conserva on. Furthermore, the Government’s ini a ve allowed for the establishment of new types of protected area that could be managed jointly with local stakeholders to achieve the dual objec ves of conservaon and sustainable use. These ini a ves provided MBG with an ideal context in which to designate and manage new protected areas. As required by the Malagasy government, the process for establishing new protected areas (PAs) places emphasis on consulta on with local stakeholders and their acceptance of the proposal in all of its details. This process has two stages: prepara on and acceptance by local stakeholders and na onal authori es of a dossier for Temporary Protection, and

Situatedat the interface of human society and natural ecosystems, communitybased conserva on requires the implementa on of a perplexingly diverse range of ac vi es that vary in importance across time and space. These activities can be



then the subsequent establishment and acceptance of the dossier for Permanent Crea on of the PA. The first dossier includes a descrip on of the site, a provisional delimita on that shows the various management zones, a proposal for management, informa on concerning land ownership and exploita on rights, and evidence that the proposal has been discussed with stakeholders and has their approval. The dossier for Permanent Crea on of a PA includes all of the elements listed above, but requires greater detail along with a study, validated by the Na onal Office for the Environment (ONE), describing the poten al nega ve environmental and social impacts of the establishment and management of a new PA, along with a plan to avoid, mi gate and/or compensate for these impacts. By 2010, ten of the eleven conserva on sites in which MBG is involved had obtained Temporary Protec on through inter-ministerial decrees. The eleventh site, the ny Ankafobe Forest, will not be designated as a protected area but rather is being managed as a community reserve under the provisions of a formal agreement between the Forest Service and a legally recognized local associa on. This situa on remained unchanged during 2011, but in 2012, further progress was made for one site, the Ibity Massif, where ONE validated the management plan and the plan for environmental and social safeguard, and issued MBG with a cahier des charges for the management of the site. This document includes a list of condi ons that must be fulfilled by the site managers in their future work. The proposed management plan for Ibity Massif, integra ng the condi ons specified in the cahier des charges, will be presented to local stakeholders in 31st January 2013, then on confirma on of their approval, the dossier can be sent to the Malagasy government, thereby comple ng the administra ve process that will result in for designation

of this site as a new PA. In 2012 we were unable to complete this process for other sites because inadequate funds were available to pay for the services of ONE, which cost more than $3000 per site.

Community-based management of natural resources and provision of alterna ves
While we are convinced that PAs and other types of nature reserves will be essen al for the conserva on of Madagascar's biodiversity, we are also aware that these areas o en disenfranchise Malagasy people from their natural heritage, reduce their access to natural goods and services, and consequently contribute to poverty. Moreover, experience elsewhere in Madagascar has shown that if local stakeholders do not value their natural ecosystems, they will be inclined, should the opportunity arise, to degrade and destroy them for quick profit. Seemingly, then, efforts to provide long-term protec on of Madagascar's PAs would require the con nuing repression of rural poor, an approach we do not wish to use. There is, however, an alterna ve. We seek to establish and manage reserves in which the aim is to conserve biodiversity by maintaining and increasing the value of natural ecosystems to local people, including efforts to support the sustainable exploita on of natural goods and ensure that the value of goods and services is fully appreciated by the beneficiaries. This "use it or lose it" approach to conservaon became popular in Madagascar during the 1990s, but the results of ini al efforts have fallen far farshort of the hopes of its advocates, an outcome mirroring that elsewhere in the world. For the reasons indicated above, community-based conserva on through sustainable exploita on of natural resources is not an op on at our eleven sites but rather an impera ve, and ways must be found to make it work. While it would be foolish



not to take careful note of the all-toofrequent failure of community-led projects in Madagascar and elsewhere, successes can be found, including at some of our own sites, and we are confident that the risk of failure can be minimized by iden fying the condi ons associated with success and then replica ng them. Our own experience and that of others reported in the literature (e.g. Newton 2008, Freudenberger 2011) suggest that successful community-led projects aimed at achieving the sustainable management of natural resources share the following characteris cs : • Stakeholders feel ownership of the project and have real power to control access to their natural resources. • Project benefits are shared by a majority of the stakeholders rather than a restricted subset. • Project goals are designed to provide significant, tangible benefits for local stakeholders in both the short and medium term. • Management plans are simple, flexible, and realis c and are conceived to provide alterna ves to over-exploited resources and add value to exploited resources, while also taking into account the role of natural resources as an economic safetynet during mes of environmental or social perturba on. • Decision-making is based on the principles of good governance and informed by sound informa on rather than assumpons, preconcep ons, and prejudices. • Community managers understand and accept the responsibili es associated with their post and are compensated for their investment in the project. • Community managers receive close coaching from outside agencies in the short term and can access support and advice in the longer term. • Periodic, objec ve evalua on is done to assess project success in a aining goals, with rewards allocated to those responsi-

ble for the success. Previously at each of the eleven conservaon sites our Conserva on Facilitators have worked with the local community to adapt and reanimate local, tradi onal rules (known as dina) concerning the management and use of the area’s natural resources. The dina is implemented and policed by the community itself through a local Management Commi ee composed of stakeholders who meet every month to issue permits, to consider infrac ons and to apply sanc ons. Policing is effected by a small team of local people who have been trained by us to patrol the site, note infrac ons, and report them to the Commi ee. MBG also works with the Commi ee to provide both alterna ve resources to community members who are subject to ra oning, and alterna ve methods of genera ng income for those who are poten ally impoverished due to loss of livelihoods that were based on the non-sustainable exploita on of natural resources. In 2012 we con nued to assist community- based management by: compensang the members of the management commi ee for their me, paying salaries for those policing the dina, providing equipment, and suppor ng the provision of alterna ves to over-exploited natural resources. Training was also provided to several management commi ees and teams of “forest police” in the principles of good governance and how these principles can be applied to their daily work. Details of the work completed in 2012 at each site within this theme are given in Table 1. A major concern for many of the Conserva on Facilitators is that our capacity to provide alterna ves to over-exploited natural resources is inadequate. In reality several of the sites cons tute small pockets rich in natural goods located in a



landscape where such resources are rare and people are to one degree or another dependent on them for their livelihoods. In 2012, in total, 62,000 seedlings of fast growing alien trees were planted as an alterna ve for wood unsustainably harvested from na ve forests. However, this achievement falls far short of what is required: hundreds of thousands of tree seedlings need to be propagated, planted and nurtured; and hundreds of new employment opportuni es are required for those who are destroying the forest through shi ing cul va on, not just the few jobs we are currently able to offer. This represents a huge challenge, but it is not impossible, and one way it can be achieved is through collabora on with development organiza ons whose mission includes the restora on of produc ve capacity to degraded landscapes. One such rela onship that is just beginning to yield results is between MBG’s projects at Agnalazaha and Ankarabolava-Agnakatrika in south-eastern Madagascar and the development organiza on Hungar Hilfe Welt, which offers the poten al to reforest hundreds of hectares of the impoverished land that surrounds these two protected areas. The extent to which we are sa sfied with the applica on of the dina is summarized in Table 2. At three sites, exploita on of natural resources by the local community is now minimal or absent and therefore easy to control (indeed at Ankafobe the crea on and implementa on of a dina was not judged to be necessary because there is no history of the local people exploi ng the natural resources within the site); at three sites exploita on of one or more natural goods is significant but sustainable; but at the five remaining sites, some natural goods are exploited unsustainably. Thus, we are sa sfied with the applica on of the dina at five of the sites, but, it should be noted that the successful

implementa on of these local rules does not by itself indicate that natural goods are being used sustainably. For example, at Agnalazaha most mber extrac on from the forest is done legally with a permit issued by the management commi ee and the wood is des ned for local use, but in 2012, 396 permits were issued for personal use, resul ng in a level of exploitaon that is probably not sustainable. Currently it is not feasible to reduce these excessive levels of exploita on because no alterna ve sources of mber are yet available and, this being the case, restric ons could prevent vulnerable people from mee ng their legi mate housing needs. In contrast to the situa on at Agnalazaha, much of the mber exploited at Pointe à Larrée is sold rather than used by the local community. This reckless and greedy exploita on seems to have flourished during Madagascar’s on-going poli cal stability. Unfortunately, under present condi ons, those who should be responsible for nurturing respect for the rule of law and for policing and implemen ng rules and regula ons are themselves implicated in this illegal and unsustainable exploita on, and there is li le that we can do about it. The forests at Pointe à Larrée are managed by seven local associa ons (called COBA) that, previous to our interven on at the site, had each obtained a contract from the Forest Service for the sustainable exploita on of mber in designated parts of the forest. Although in the past we have endeavored to support all these COBA in developing and implemen ng sustainable management of their mber resources, as required by their contracts, a review of our impact has shown that our interven ons were successful in only four of the COBA. Consequently, this project is now under review and it is likely that in 2013 we will concentrate our limited resources on the crea ng a more modest protected area in



collabora on with the more responsible COBA. Tourism is a very popular approachused by protected area managers to valorize their sites because it is directly linked to biodiversity and because foreign tourists are compara vely wealthy and provide addi onal revenue beyond what normally circulates within the local economy. However, while a few protected areas in Madagascar a ract compara vely large numbers of tourists and generate a significant revenue stream for local people and for reserve management, many other sites, despite appropriate investment, have failed to a ain even modest success. Understandably, most tourist agencies are risk-averse and are loyal to a few i neraries familiar to them that reliably and reliably provide sa sfac on to their clients. Five of our eleven sites have clear potenal for tourism : • Analalava, located just 7 km from the major coastal resort of Foulpointe, boasts a rainforest experience with habituated lemurs and a large fruit bat colony • Ankafobe lies immediately adjacent to a na onal highway and provides a scenic picnic spot less than 2 hours’ drive from Tana • Ibity offers drama c rock landscapes, cultural importance and proximity to the island's main north-south road • Oronjia is easily accessible from Diego Suarez and offers fine marine views and beau ful, un-spoiled beaches • Pointe à Larrée, a quick speedboat ride from Madagascar’s second most important tourism des na on on Île Ste Marie, offers forest, beaches, lemurs and crocodiles. In 2012 progress was made on developing the ecotourism poten al at three of these sites. At Analalava we conceived and implemented a five-month course that successfully trained five local people who are now able to offer their services as charming, a en ve and knowledgeable guides.

In 2012, Analalava welcomed 124 tourists who not only generated income for these guides but also for an associa on of women who provide them with meals. At Ankafobe, we recruited and trained one local person to act as site guardian and guide, and since his installa on in November he has hosted visits by 17 tourists. At Oronjia, we collaborated with a consultant provided by the Département du Finistère in France to research and publish a tourism plan for the site. This plan is now being used to solicit funds for implementa on.

The resources required to implement ac vi es are always limited so it is important that they be used in a manner that maximizes posi ve impact and the a ainment of our long-term goals. Work plans must be developed that are based on a thorough understanding of problems and the strengths and weaknesses of possible solu ons. Deep understanding can be built through the daily experiences of a percepve site-based staff, but this needs to be accompanied by focused research on key issues and indicators, many of which are o en poorly-understood. Monitoring can be considered as a special type of research in which the implementa on of ac vi es and the resul ng impacts are tracked through me to verify whether expected results are being achieved as effec vely as possible. More generally, we also encourage researchers from diverse domains to conduct studies at the conserva on sites. In addi on to improving our own knowledge, the presence of researchers can generate employment for local people as assistants of various types, and their presence further helps to convince local stakeholders of the site’s importance.



Moreover, the presence of research at a site helps to jus fy its conserva on. Table 3 summarizes the research conducted at each of MBG’s sites during 2012. In general, the level of research conducted in 2012 increased from the previous year. Three sites in par cular boasted a high level of research ac vity: Agnalazaha, Analalava, and Vohibe, the first and last of which are not easily accessible, sugges ng that the abundance of research ac vi es there reflects the highly collabora ve nature of these projects and the willingness of their staff to supervise postgraduate students. Three research endeavors deserve special men on. First, at three of our sites (Pointe à Larrée, Analalava and Vohibe) MBG botanists are collabora ng with microbiologists from Madagascar’s Na onal Center for Ecological Research (CNRE) and the University of Maryland in a study to explore the rela onship between flora and vegeta on structure and the diversity of soil micro-organisms. In par cular, the project aims to inves gate the effect of disturbance to forests (e.g. by selec ve exploita on of mber or shi ing cul vaon) on the soil microbial community. The fieldwork for this innova ve project has now been completed and the data are being analyzed. Second, at Analalava, two restora on ecologists, Cyprien Miandrimanana and Simon Dunster,have established a series of seven experiments that aim to inform protocols for forest restoraon by propaga ng and plan ng na ve tree seedlings. They are considering a range of variables in this approach including, for example, the effect on seedlings survival and growth of factors such as distance from the forest edge, shade, size of plan ng hole, addi on of compost, and inocula on of growing media with mycorrhizae. These experiments are now being carefully monitored and the final set of data will collected in March 2013, 12 months

a er the start of the inves ga on. Also at Analalava, five students from the University of Toamasina are working with Cyprien to develop cost-effec ve protocols for the control of two par cularly problema cal invasive alien plant species. In total, during 2012, we enabled 19 Malagasy students to conduct research at our sites and facilitated their work. We are also par cularly proud that in 2012 three of our sites (Agnalazaha, Anadabolava-Betsimalaho,and Oronjia) were selected by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as focal areas for seed collec on acvi es as part of their Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) Project. This project aims to preserve threatened species by placing samples of their seeds into long term storage, both within Madagascar and at the MSB in England. During 2012 our botanists were able to contribute over 50 seed samples to this important project. In December 2012, a major new research ini a ve was launched at Makirovana-Tsihomanaomby with the recruitment and ini al training of two local plant collectors. During 2013 experienced MBG botanists will train and coach these young recruits so that they can complete an ongoing botanical inventory of this poorly known site. Finally, a major achievement during the year was to ins gate the scien fic monitoring of conserva on impact at several sites where such tracking was hitherto absent. At least one indicator of conservaon impact is now being monitored all of the sites where we are promo ng conserva on, and at three sites an array of indicators are being carefully and consistently monitored.



Table 1 Ac vi es 2011-2012 : community-based management of natural resources and provision of alterna ves





Table 2.Exploita on of natural resources at the conserva on sites and status of dina applica on



Table 3.Ac vi es 2012: research


The forest, woodland or thicket ecosystems at all but one of the eleven conservaon sites are, at least in part, degraded, the sole excep on being the Analavelona Sacred Forest. This impacts the conservaon value of the sites and increases the risk of further ecosystem deteriora on due to wildfires, catastrophic winds associated with cyclones, and invasive species. In order to address this situa on, ecological restora on has been incorporated into the program of ac vi es at each site. Our restora on ac vi es include: a) control of par cularly harmful, alien invasive plants; b) reduc on of anthropogenic pressures, including burning and the unsustainable harves ng of trees, which constrain natural regenera on and reduce forest cover and integrity; and c) reforestaon of degraded areas using na ve species with the aim to increase the total forested area. The nature and scale of these ac ons vary from year to year and between sites according to need and the resources available. In total, during 2012, for all sites combined, 28.5 km of firebreak were maintained and 39,672 seedlings of 122 different species of na ve trees and shrubs were propagated and planted. The team at the Analalava Forest includes a restora on ecologist (Cyprien Miandrimanana) and during 2012 a major research project was implemented at this site, including an array of experiments to iden fy the most effec ve protocols for propaga ng and plan ng seedling of na ve plants. At Analalava, and likewise at Oronjia, major experiments were also launched to define the least expensive, most effec ve,and least environmentally damaging protocols for controlling three par cularly invasive alien plant species: the tea tree (Melaleuca quinquenervia)

and guava (Psidium ca leyanum) at Analalava, and the white leadtree (Leuceanaleuco cephala) at Oronjia. Perhaps the most important ac vity in enabling ecosystem restora on, however, involves empowering the local community in the sustainable management of their natural resources by suppor ng the establishment and applica on of dina and providing alterna ves to over-exploited natural goods, as discussed above. Our restora on ac vi es bring much sa sfac on: there is nothing more inspiring and mo va ng than seeing the recovery of a degraded forest. This is par cularly true in difficult mes when there is the tendency to lose op mism and fall into the trap of believing that the very best one can hope is to maintain the status quo. Nevertheless, our restora on ac vi es remain modest and inadequate compared to the need. For example, during 2012, at Ankaraboalava-Agnakatrika, five village nurseries propagated 11,432 seedlings of na ve trees and planted them in two forest gaps created by shi ing cul va on. An excellent result one might think, yet at least one hundred such gaps exist, all of which require ac on. Similar stories can be told from other sites, and we con nue our search for addi onal funds to enable the required up-scaling of our restora on work.

The long term conserva on of our sites will require that local stakeholders understand several key points: 1) their natural ecosystems are important (as habitat for rare species and as sustainable sources of natural goods and services on which their livelihoods depend); 2) these ecosystems can be destroyed and indeed are being



destroyed (it is a common yet false human be lief that natural resources are infinitely available and cannot be exhausted); 3) tools are available to achieve las ng conserva on and sustainable use; and 4) ul mately responsibility for the wise use of local resources rests with the local people. Our Facilitators, usually working with the local Management Commi ee and some mes with associa ons or other staff members, employ a wide range of approaches to promote and share this paradigm, including : • Financing and facilita ng annual biodiversity fes vals that provide an enjoyable and educa onal forum to promote local pride in and awareness of natural and cultural heritage while sharing informa on such as reminders of the dina and a res tu on of the year’s ac vi es and achievements • Establishing and suppor ng “green clubs” in schools that host environmental educa on ac vi es such as nature rambles, tree plan ng, vegetable growing, and film shows • Crea ng, stocking and managing community libraries rich in environmental informa on • Building and erec ng educa onal panels in public places on themes such as the dina, the appropriate use of fire as an agricultural tool, local natural heritage, and project milestone achievements • Designing, producing and distribu ng t-shirts, baseball caps and posters themed to support specific campaigns (e.g. lemur conserva on or responsible use of fire); and • Ensuring that ALL members of our sitebased team can speak authorita vely about the ra onale for the project and its aims, approaches and ac vi es, and that they also set a good example in their everyday rela onships with the environment. A prerequisite for successful communitybased conserva on is a trus ng rela onship

between the conserva on organiza on and the local stakeholders. People everywhere are less suspicious and more trus ng if and when they know what is going on. Thus, in addi on to carrying out specific, focused environmental awareness-raising ac vi es, we invest daily inensuring effec ve two-way communicaon between the site-based team and the full range of local stakeholders. This communica on takes place by means of “doorstep” interest group and village mee ngs, and also throughbroadcasts from local radio sta ons. Table 4 summarizes the awareness-raising and communica on ac vi es implemented at each of our conserva on sites during 2012. Differences in the importance and nature of these ac vi es between sites reflect available funding as well as cultural par culari es of the stakeholders, In general, the quan ty of awareness raising ac vi es remained stable between 2011 and 2012. Biodiversity fes vals were held at three sites and each was judged to be an enormous success in promo ng conserva on paradigms to local communi es and increasing awareness of and support for our ini a ves. Also highly successful was a program of school nature camps at the Analalava Forest organized in collabora on with the local US Peace Corps volunteer and animated by our newly trained guides. The objec ve of these regular forest “sleepovers” is to reconnect local school children with their natural heritage using a lively mix of ac vi es that include film shows, games, songs, quizzes and nature rambles.

In Madagascar extreme rural poverty results primarily from a profound, systemic lack of access to information, services



Table 4.Ac vi es 2012 : awareness-raising



(educa on, health, and communica ons), markets, venture capital, and natural capital. Overcoming these deficiencies will be essen al for the success of MBG’s effort to facilitate conserva on at the eleven sites where we are engaged. Part of the work of our site-based teams, each led by a Conserva on Facilitator, is to achieve conserva on by reducing local poverty and improving human well-being. Currently we seek to accomplish this goal by providing training in improved agricultural techniques, promo ng new income-genera ng ini a ves, and making the materials available to support the exploita on of this knowledge, as well as by a rac ng development organiza ons to assist with launching projects around the conservaon sites and then facilita ng their work to ensure maximum benefits to the community. Table 5 summarizes poverty reduc on acvi es at each of our sites during 2012. Although many of the income generang/food producing ini a ves can be judged successful in the short term at least, in general, these “development” projects, individually and in combina on, have been neither sufficiently extensive nor durableto bring about a significant reduc on in poverty among those living around the sites. Indeed, a brutally objec ve review of these projects shows that they have, at best, had a modest, short-term posi ve impact on the livelihoods of a limited number of people, barely compensa ng for popula on increase around most of the sites. For example, while we are delighted with the success of projects at Ibity, Makirovana and Oronjia that enable some local people propagate and sell seedlings of na ve plants of hor cultural interest, and also project to train charcoal producers living adjacent to Oronjia to use the wood of invasive alien trees to make animal models for sale to passing tourists, these projects transformed the lives of

few people. The produc on of 63,000 seedlings of clove plants for distribu on to local farmers at Pointe à Larrée is one of the few agricultural ini a ves at our sites that is likely to touch the lives of a significant por on of the local popula on. By contrast, infrastructure projects have the poten al to impact the lives of many people, and in 2012, funds were obtained to provide the Commune of Ambalabe, which includes the Vohibe Forest, with six market pavilions, six piped communal water sources, and electricity from solar power for the Mayor’s office and the clinic. In addi on, in the three communes adjacent to the Ankaraboalava-Agnakatrika Forest, we were able to provide 600 bench and table sets (each accommoda ng two or three students) that were distributed among 40 schools: over one thousand children who previously studied squa ng on parasite-infested earthen floors can now learn in compara ve comfort. We are convinced that, in collabora on with development organiza ons, conserva on projects such as ours have the poten al to make a significant contribuon to development with posi ve benefits for Madagascar's rural poor. Our projects are o en located in remote areas where development organiza ons have historically been reluctant to venture, and our site-based personnel, who have gained the trust of the local people, possess a deep knowledge of local issues and have made a long-term commitment to their host communi es. These strengths now need to be more widely appreciated by those working to nurture development in Madagascar. These persons and organizaons must also revise the widely held but unfounded and counter-produc ve belief that conserva on organiza ons are “not interested in people but only lemurs.” All serious conserva onists understand that nature reserves will never be secure so



Table 5: Ac vi es 2012: poverty reduc on





long as they are surrounded by impoverished and resource-starved people. In 2012, we were thus delighted to see the launch of a collabora ve ini a ve with the development organiza on Welt Hunger Hilfe to promote reforesta on and improved agricultural techniques in the landscapes adjacent to Agnalazaha and Ankarabolava-Agnakatrika. Also at Agnalazaha, 1300 specially designed, high quality, woven baskets made by local weavers were purchased at “be er than fair-trade prices” by the Blessing Basket Project and are now being sold in the USA. However, perhaps the most impressive collaboraon was with USAID (though the Ranon’ala project), which led to the installa on of 36 pumps and 360 family latrines in the commune that includes the Pointe à Larrée Peninsula. In 2013 we will do our best to develop addi onal collabora ve efforts of this kind.

In addi on to core funding provided by the Missouri Botanical Garden, which covers a por on of staff salaries and office expenses, among others, support was obtained from a diverse group of donors including: the Beneficia Founda on, the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Founda on, the Interna onal Coopera ve Biodiversity Group, the Fonda on pour les Aires Protégées et la Biodiversité de Madagascar (FAPBM), Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM), Global Colors, the Helmsley Charitable Trust, Idea Wild, the Marisla Founda on, the Mohamed bin Zayed Fund for Nature Conserva on, the Na onal Geographic Society, Programme de Pe tes Ini a ves du FFEM, Ranon’Ala (funded by USAID), Seacology, Rio Tinto, and the Small Grant Program of the Global Environment Facility. Support was also provided by two private benefactors.

Table 6.Expenditure on conserva on ac vi es in Madagascar in 2012, classified according to type

Our Conserva on Facilitators have worked hard to implement the diverse array of acvi es described in this report, but the ques ons remains: are these ac on sactually leading to the conserva on of the eleven sites where we work? To provide an objec ve answer to this ques on we have iden fied a small number of quan fiable a ributes for each site that accurately and reliably reflect conserva on success. These are periodically monitored through the consistent applica on of carefully defined protocols, and the results are shown in Table 7. The number of sites where indicators are being monitored and the number of indicators we use both increased in 2012, and in par cular the team at Oronjia began for the first me to monitor an impressive suite of conservaon-related a ributes.

In 2012, MBG’s total, in-country expenditures on site-based conserva on were approximately $427,955, as summarized in Table 6, up from the previous year ($379,000), but nevertheless s ll much less than required to ensure the long-term conserva on of our eleven sites. The financial constraints we have faced have made any expansion of our program unrealis c.



Table 7.Indicators of impact 2006-2012



The indicators we are using suggest that the value for biodiversity conserva on of most sites is stable or increasing. The only apparently alarmingly result came from the Ibity Massif, where during the year 2,808 hectares of the Massif burnt. Wildfires are a natural part of the Ibity’s grassland and shrub-land ecosystems, and they are both inevitable and desirable, provided that they occur infrequently and at the appropriate mes of year. However, recent research suggests that the ideal fire regime for the massif would be one in which around 500 hectares (i.e.,10%) of the site’s area is burned annually. The burning of 50% of the reserve is clearly not acceptable, but given that the wildfires which impacted the Massif in 2012 were started by ca le rustlers to hide their tracks, it is difficult to know what more we can do! Firebreaks would certainly help, but they are expensive to establish, can cause erosion, and their presence could spoil Ibity’s wild landscapes. A long term solu on we are now considering would be to restore the strips of gallery forest that once lined each of Ibity’s many streams but have been degraded over the decades. If these protec ve gallery forests could be restored then they would act as a natural barrier to the spread of wildfires, although such an effort would clearly take many years to implement. Three other sites gave us cause for concern in 2012 due to non-sustainable

exploita on of natural resources: Ankaraboalava-Agnakatrika (where shi ing cul va on and mber extrac ons were judged to be non-sustainable); Makirovana-Tsihomanaomby (unsustainable shi ing cul vaon); and Pointe à Larrée (anarchic exploita on of mber for sale). The management of these sites has proved challenging for several years,and in 2013 they will be focus of new remedial ini a ves (see below). Our objec ve is not just to achieve conserva on, but to achieve community-based conserva on, and therefore it is important to consider our achievements in this context. A classifica on of the eleven sites according to trends of biodiversity importance as well as the extent to which the local community par cipates in the conserva on ac vi es is given in Table 8. At all sites there is moderate to high level of community par cipa on in the project. At the end of the year the dina for Oronjia was fully validated by the local authori es and therefore in 2013 we expect that the community at this site will be empowered for the first me ever in the management of their natural resources. The dina for Makirovana-Tsihomanaomby should also have been validated by the end of 2012 but the final signature was delayed due to a strike within the courts, although it has recently come to an end and we therefore expect this dina to be applicable very shortly.

Table 8. Evalua on of the extent to which community-based conserva on was being achieved at the eleven sites in December 2012







The strengths and weaknesses, opportuni es and threats iden fied in this report lead naturally to our perspec ves for 2013. Our three major objec ves for this year are : 1) to strengthen the community-based implementa on of the dina at the sites where its applica on is currently unsa sfactory; 2) complete the dossier for defini ve PA establishment at four sites (Analalava, Ibity, Oronjia, Pointe à Larrée) and submit the dossier to the Malagasy government; and 3) at the four sites where we believe conserva on importance is currently declining,seek funds to implement major remedial ac ons to reverse this trend. With respect to the third objec ve, we specifically propose the following ac ons: • At Ankarabolava-Agnakatrika and Makirovana-Tsihomanaomby, those prac cing shi ing cul va on within the forest need to be helped to access alterna ve and improved livelihoods that don’t destroy the

forest–ideally these would include paid work to restore their exhausted fields to forest; • At Ibity, a plan will be developed and then implemented to reduce the extent of annual burns; and • At Pointe à Larrée, our project will be redefined so that it focuses on collaborang with those communi es willing and able to invest in the sustainable use of their natural resources. Achieving these objec ves will, as in previous years, be extremely challenging. The current financial, social and poli cal climates within the country are not conducive for achieving much of what we hope to accomplish. More than ever before, we will need to rely on the ini a ve, adaptability, passion, competence and commitment of our remarkable conservaon team. Whatever the constraints, we will move forward as we have in the past, strengthened by our strong belief that only way to manage Madagascar's extraordinary natural heritage is honestly and humbly to seek approaches that achieve success because of, not in spite of, the desires and efforts of local stakeholders.



Photographs by conserva on facilitators MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN Madagascar Research and Conserva on Program Address: P.O. Box 3391, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar Phone: (261) 20 22 324 82 Facsimile: (261) 20 22 353 44 Chris an Camara Permanent Representa ve e-mail: chris Jeannie Raharimampionona Coordinator Conserva on Unit e-mail :