Ankarafantsika National Park in northwestern Madagascar is one of the five largest fragments remaining of western primary forest in Madagascar. Although Ankarafantsika is a protected national park, forest loss persists due to fires, charcoal production, construction, slash-and-burn agriculture, and domestic livestock grazing. Forest loss along the edge of continuous forest has resulted in forest fragments, isolating wildlife and inhibiting colonization.
But the problem is complicated. In Ankarafantsika, people set fires to burn grasses to graze their cattle, and ultimately simply to feed their families. Any project that seeks to conserve lemurs in Madagascar must also consider the needs of local communities.
This project is part of an ongoing conservation effort where the team has been working with local community members to design and implement a fire management strategy, including firebreaks and forest monitoring. Forest restoration is the next step.
The project team will work with local residents to cultivate seedlings in tree nurseries and plant corridors that connect existing fragments. Regenerating forest and creating a corridor to connect large fragments will expand the useable habitat available for endangered lemurs. The project will build capacity and provide jobs for community members, and so improve standards of living while reducing pressures on forest resources.
The project will expand lemur habitat through the creation of a 75-hectare corridor connecting two of the largest dry forest fragments in Ankarafantsika National Park.
The project will provide 69 jobs to community members, ensuring smooth productivity of three nurseries throughout project period.
Finally, the team expects that 50% or more of the 488 local residents will report improvements in food security and standards of living, and will support these conservation efforts.
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