The broad conservation problem in Madagascar is the continuing loss of forest and all the wildlife which inhabit those forests. The specific problem addressed with support from SOS is lack of clear delineation of boundary of Marojejy National Park, in northeastern Madagascar.
When boundaries of protected areas are not clearly marked 1) there is confusion about where the actual boundary is, or 2) even if local people understand where the boundary is, if not clearly delineated it is easy to claim ignorance of location.
An actively marked and maintained boundary indicates to local people a park which is actively protected against hunting, collecting, and farming incursions.
The focal species for protection in Marojejy is the silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus), which has a limited range in the wet forest of northeastern Madagascar, and has been identified as one of the 25 rarest primates in the world.
Silkies are large bodied lemurs which weigh in at around 6 kilogrammes. They are the only lemur species that has irregular patches of pink 'depigmentation' on the black skin of their faces and sometimes their hands. Each individual has a different and distinct pattern of depigmentation, and some have hardly any at all.
This is a multifaceted community-based conservation project.
Project activities include environmental education with local teachers and students; reforestation; helping villagers to start fish ponds as an alternative protein source to bushmeat; promoting sustainable agriculture through training in yam cultivation and distribution of propagules; support of fuel efficient wood/charcoal stove distribution; research and more.
All activities include an element of capacity building, and often collaboration with local organizations and individuals. An important collaboration is with Madagascar National Parks (MNP).
MNP lacks sufficient funds for protection of parks and reserves, and the boundary delimitation of Marojejy National Park will be a collaborative effort of DLC-SAVA and MNP, with SOS support.
Carried out in tandem with community-based activities in the peripheral zone around Marojejy, boundary delimitation of the national park will reduce incursions of all types into the protected area.
The reasons for the illegal incursions include hunting, collecting forest products for food or local construction, and the cutting of precious woods such as rosewood and ebony. Another longer term incursion occurs when over time adjacent cultivated areas begin to "sag" inward into the protected area, a little more each growing season, eventually encroaching on large swaths of the protected area.
A clearly delineated Marojejy National Park boundary will reduce all of the different types of incursions, and the community-based activities carried out in the park peripheral zone strengthens community relations.