Photo Credit: Ed Louis

Improving reforestation and community livelihoods for the conservation of the Critically Endangered northern sportive lemur at Montagne des Français


Conservation Problem

The northern sportive lemur is one of the most endangered species in the world. The greatest threat to this species is habitat loss, which is a direct result of years of unsustainable agricultural practices, massive erosion, and desert expansion. Now, the very little habitat that remains is falling victim to charcoal production. As large swaths of trees are being cut for fuel, wildlife is diminishing at a much faster rate than anticipated. The distribution of the northern sportive lemur is essentially limited to one mountain, Montagne des Français, and surrounding forest fragments with approximately 50 individuals remaining in the world.

Project Activities

The project is working with the community to monitor three key species of lemurs: the northern sportive lemur, the crowned lemur, and the aye-aye to document and reduce threats and track population changes. 

To address habitat loss, the project is encouraging and establishing fuel wood plantings, improving nursery infrastructure, and engaging with local traditional and governmental authorities to guard the forests and wildlife from poaching and illegal tree harvesting.  

Enacting change requires a community approach with people at the heart of the solution. This project is engaging and implementing community-based programmes that educate and provide economic value.

Project Results

Hiring local community members to help monitor these lemurs provides data on habitat usage, behaviour and life history for three target lemur species, which can be utilized to develop more efficient conservation strategies.

Establishing fuel wood planting provides an alternative to charcoal while contributing towards the goal of eliminating its production. 

Expanding lemur habitat through community reforestation efforts. 

Evaluate feasibility of alternative agricultural methodologies to counter current slash-and-burn practices.

Improving stewardship of biological resources through events with local schools and community members.

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