|Date||4 Jun 2009|
The Spiny Forest ecosystems of southwestern Madagascar are among the planet’s most biologically diverse and unique forests with over 90% endemism. At the same time these forests are the least protected, the most understudied and currently the most deforested and threatened forests on Madagascar. Southwest Madagascar is the poorest, least developed and least educated region of the island, with a great need for implementing grassroots conservation and restoration efforts. Rural people from coastal and inland communities subsist directly from forest resources by harvesting edible and medicinal plants, fodder for livestock, firewood, and timber for construction, but mainly for making charcoal. Charcoal production is the major source of fuel and income for the 20 million residents of Madagascar.
Madagascar’s Spiny Forest has over two dozen tree species that are targeted specifically for charcoal production. Overexploitation places severe pressure on natural populations of these species and very little is known about their ecology or how they regenerate. Ho avy partners with local people to restore and manage forest resources under a rotational harvest scheme. Sustainable energy solutions reducing the exploitation pressure: efficient stoves and solar ovens, and alternative fuels, i.e. ‘green charcoal’ and ‘biogas’ will be introduced. Environmental education and training are an essential part of making ho avy’s program self-sustainable.
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