Madagascar

Securing One of Madagascar’s Last Bastions of Biodiversity

Project Cost: $333,502

Funding Raised: $142,820

$76.40 per acre (1 acre = 43,560 sq ft)
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Efatsy Forest, a remnant humid coastal forest in southeastern Madagascar, is home to an impressive array of unique flora and fauna. The area is home to eight lemur species, including the Critically Endangered James’ Sportive Lemur, which exists nowhere else in the world. The site is also critical habitat for endemic and threatened plants and home to eight globally endangered species. But the forest is disappearing due to anthropogenic pressure and needs urgent protection to halt unsustainable resource extraction. To prevent this irreversible loss, Rainforest Trust and local partner Madagascar Primate Study and Research Group (GERP) seek $333,502 to create the 3,067-acre Efatsy Protected Area. This project will empower communities to sustainably manage resources by aligning access to natural resources with traditional customs. In addition, alternative livelihood opportunities for local communities may reduce the demand for these resources and provide a source of income.

Photo: A Furcifer chameleon. Photo by Madagascar Primate Study and Research Group.

Fast Facts

Location:
Madagascar

Size/Acres:
4,365 acres

Key Species:
Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (CR), White-collared Lemur (CR), James’ Sportive Lemur (CR), Dypsis mahia (Palm – CR), Dypsis laevis (CR), Dypsis interrupta (CR), Dypsis intermedia (CR), Dypsis elegans (CR), Dypsis digitate (CR), Jolly’s Mouse Lemur (EN), Aye-aye (EN), Dypsis angusta (EN), Dioscorea madecassa (EN)

Habitat:
Efatsy Forest

Threats:
Deforestation, logging, poaching

Action:
Designation

Local Partner:
Madagascar Primate Study and Research Group

Financial Need:
$333,502

Price per Acre:
$76.40

Metric Tons Carbon Storage:
592,000

Biodiversity

Scientists estimate that 90% of the plant species in the Efatsy forest are endemic to Madagascar, and many are endangered.

Of the eight species of lemurs found in Efatsy, three of them - the Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur, White-collared Lemur and James' Sportive Lemur - are Critically Endangered. Two of the other lemur species, the Jolly's Mouse Lemur and the Aye-aye, are both Endangered.  

Photo: A Critically Endangered Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur. Photo by Madagascar Primate Study and Research Group.
 

Challenges

Efatsy Forest is in southern Madagascar, an area that has suffered heavy deforestation over the years due to human encroachment. Current threats include the use of bush fires for agricultural purposes, poaching and logging.

People can use timber for domestic purposes such as canoe-building, but valuable tree species are also traded illegally. Farmers and ranchers burn forest to expand agriculture and to renew grazing lands for cattle, which local communities rely on. Additionally, lemur poaching is intensifying due to a combination of extreme poverty and a rapidly growing human population who view lemurs as an easily accessible source of protein. To mitigate the numerous threats to Efatsy Forest, the partner will help communities manage resources while offering services to improve the general welfare of the surrounding villages.  

Photo: A wire trap. Photo by Madagascar Primate Study and Research Group.
 

Communities

The communities around Efatsy Forest are home to approximately 4,000 inhabitants, half of whom live in the village of Manombo.

While the region stands out for its biological value, it is also one of the poorest and least developed regions of Madagascar and the majority of the population lives in poverty. In addition, sustainable economic opportunities are limited, which puts intense pressure on increasingly scarce natural resources.  

Photo: Community reforestation meeting. Photo by Madagascar Primate Study and Research Group.
 

Solutions

To combat rapid habitat destruction, Rainforest Trust and local partner Madagascar Primate Study and Research Group seek $333,502 to support the establishment of the Efatsy Protected Area.

Conservation interventions will include controlling anthropogenic pressures related to using fire to renew grazing lands and stopping illegal timber extraction. Local communities will be involved in all aspects of the project including protected area boundary delineation. The partner will organize co-management structures, including grassroots community associations and participatory management committees, to spearhead sustainable forest management by implementing new regulations. Species-specific harvest quotas for trees within the buffer zone and anti-poaching efforts will help mitigate uncontrolled resource extraction. GERP will recruit rangers from the local communities to patrol the new protected area, which will also provide new employment opportunities and sustainability. To help ensure the efficacy of these regulations, the partner will investigate and support socioeconomic development in communities by providing new opportunities for income from basketry and apiculture. (Photo: Community members participate in reforestation initiatives. Photo by Madagascar Primate Study and Research Group.)