Itremo Massif Protected Area Project
Madagascar is a globally important biodiversity hotspot in economic crisis (UNEP GDP per capita ranking: 147th out of 152), with an 80% rural population dependant upon subsistence farming. It has lost >33% of its forests since the 1970s and has attained the highest soil erosion rates in the world of 20,000-40,000 tonnes/km²/year. In 2003, former president Marc Ravalomanana implemented the Durban Vision, a process aiming to triple protected areas to cover 10% of the land surface. The delimitation of the Système d'Aires Protégées de Madagascar (SAPM) is nearly complete and covers nearly 60,000 km². Management of the new protected areas will involve a multitude of collaborations between local communities and conservation and development agencies. Developing sustainable livelihoods is one of the main challenges.
The Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre (KMCC) is leading on the creation of a new 273 km² protected area in the central highlands. The protected area will be managed jointly with local communities. In the first year the project has agreed boundaries for core areas for conservation and zones of sustainable utilisation by the communities. KMCC is currently negotiating a detailed management plan with the communities and developing ideas for sustainable development. We are working with local NGO Ny Tanintsika, who are promoting silk production in the native tapia forests. KMCC is also helping to develop management plans for a further 500 km² of state owned forests (adjacent to the protected area) that have been passed back to the communities for management. Initial botanical surveys have revealed over 560 species of plants, of which around 10% are only known from the Itremo Massif. Other highlights include 3 species of lemur, 9 species of chameleon and a critically endangered frog. The Government of Madagascar recently granted the Itremo Massif temporary protected status, which is the first step towards full protected status and that will take a further two years to achieve. The project is supported by Conservation International Madagascar.
Project partners and collaborators
Feedback Madagascar - Ny Tanintsika
Ministry of Environment and Forests