Forest4Climate&People team share results with a major new conservation consortium

The “Fitantanana maharitra ho lovainjafy” consortium, funded by the UK government’s Biodiverse Landscape Fund, includes Kew Gardens, Missouri Botanical Gardens, the Peregrine Fund, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Madagasikara Voakajy and CARE International. The consortium are keen to ensure their projects are evidence-based and so invited us to present recent research so they could learn from the research we have been doing.

Dr Sarobidy Rakotonarivo presenting to the consortium in a hybrid session (others joining online from the UK)

About 12 people were present in person in the meeting in Madagascar, with a further 6 joining remotely from some of the organizations’ headquarters.

We presented summaries of 3 recent pieces of work:

  • The effectiveness of a major mine’s biodiversity offsets at slowing deforestation in Madagascar. This work is relevant for the consortium as they are interested in delivering interventions that genuinely slow deforestation, but which do this without bringing costs to local communities. The Ambatovy case study has relevant insights.
  • How land tenure constraints opportunities to scale up Forest Landscape Restoration in Madagascar. Sarobidy presented a recent legal review of the law and guidelines relevant to FLR in Madagascar (led by Herimino Manoa Rajaonarivelo) and work we will be submitting soon based on extensive interviews with those promoting (and affected by) FLR projects in Madagascar.
  • The impact of covid-related lockdowns on burning in Protected Areas in Madagascar. This new paper (published recently in Nature Sustainability) explores the extent to which the lockdowns resulted in increased burning in Madagascar’s protected areas. Our conclusion is that the reduction in on-the-ground management and lack of state support to conservation during the lockdowns resulted in a rapid increase in burning (though this quickly returned to normal when normal movement around Madagascar resumed between July and September 2020).

We then presented the film ‘Voices from the forest’ and had an excellent discussion of the issues raised by the film.

We had an excellent discussion focused on what these research results mean in practice and how they can be applied to ensure ongoing conservation projects are more effective.

Jeannie Raharimampionona of Missouri Botanic Gardens said: “The context in which we operate here in Madagascar is very challenging. We want to design and deliver conservation which is evidence-based and build on existing knowledge. This is why we invited the Forest4Climate&People team to visit us. It’s rare but so useful that researchers (including one from overseas) share their results in open discussion with us, and even rarer that researchers listen our feedback.”

Paul Wilkin of Kew Gardens said: “The recent research presented highlighted to our developing project consortium some of the most critical current issues at the biodiversity conservation/development interface in Madagascar, in particular land ownership, social stability and resilience, and offsetting biodiversity loss. Project members learned a great deal from the exchange and are looking forward to working towards integrating aspects of that learning to adapt planned interventions and approaches to data, monitoring and evaluation.”

Some of the consortium chat and share experiences with the Forest4Climate&People team after the meeting.


Publication date: 29 April 2022