Photo Credit: Edward E. Louis

Saving Critically Endangered Lemurs, Restoring Forest and Empowering Communities in Kianjavato, Madagascar



The forests of Kianjavato in southeastern Madagascar are highly fragmented, which threatens the nine lemur species in the area, including two Critically Endangered species: the Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata) and the Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus).

Kianjavato's forests are home to the largest known population of the Greater Bamboo Lemur. This species ranks among the top 25 most threatened primates in the world; and at one point was even thought to be extinct. Conserving Kianjavato's large population is critical for survival of the species.

The Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur is a crucial seed disperser around Kianjavato, eating fruit whole and passing the seeds intact. These "lemur-processed" seeds sprout better than those taken directly from the fruit. Without the Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur's assistance in restoring forests, other lemurs in the region are also at risk.


The project team is prioritizing the incorporation of research, education and community involvement to preserve forests while simultaneously raising the standard of living for people reliant on natural resources.

The project's reforestation effort, the "Education Promoting Reforestation Programme" (EPRP), pairs monitoring of the seed-dispersing Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur with a reforestation plan that benefits both lemurs and the community. The project team and area residents track the lemurs, collect fecal samples and grow seedlings in nurseries. Since 2010, this effort has planted 542,533 trees from over 100 endemic species.


Since 2010, the project team has built several large-capacity tree nurseries and numerous satellite nurseries strategically located next to the villages around Kianjavato. With more nurseries and growing local participation, the project has a greater tree-production ability.

With this funding, the project team will build ten new nurseries and upgrade several existing nurseries in 2016. This is a vital step to increase the annual tree-production levels. The project is on track to plant 350,000 trees in 2016 and has a goal of 500,000 trees in 2017. Large-scale replanting will be critical if forest restoration is to become a realistic endeavour in time to save the lemurs of Kianjavato.

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