Covid mitigation at the pointe à Larrée New
Protected Area

Mobilising local fisherfolk to control an upsurge in wood exploitation in Pointe à Larrée NPA, Madagascar.

Covid mitigation at the pointe à Larrée New
Protected Area

Mobilising local fisherfolk to control an upsurge in wood exploitation in Pointe à Larrée NPA, Madagascar.

Covid mitigation at the pointe à Larrée New
Protected Area

Mobilising local fisherfolk to control an upsurge in wood exploitation in Pointe à Larrée NPA, Madagascar.

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Introduction

The 770-hectare Pointe à Larrée New Protected Area, situated on the Antsiraka Peninsula in central-eastern Madagascar, includes one of the last large remaining fragments of Malagasy littoral forest (humid forest on old sand dunes close to the sea) as well as areas of very rare swamp forest, marshes and lakes (see here http://mobot.mg/conservation/pointe-a-larree/). Inventories to date, as yet incomplete, show that the site contains 468 native plant species (almost all of which are Malagasy endemics), 11 mammal species (including 6 species of lemur), 63 bird species, 26 reptile species, and 15 species of amphibians. Of these species, 46 are classified as threatened. The forest also helps to stabilise the fragile sandy peninsula on which it located – a peninsula that is regularly impacted by cyclones and where hundreds of families make their home. Since 2009 Missouri Botanical Garden’s (MBG) Madagascar Research and Conservation Program has been supporting a community-based conservation project at this site. The site was designated by the Malagasy Government as a New Protected Area in May 2015 and it is listed in the World Database on Protected Areas with the identification number 555697898.

Many of those living adjacent on the Pointe à Larrée peninsula are fisherfolk.  Previously the conservation of this important forest was largely compatible with fishing.  However, recently, due to the pandemic, markets for the sale of fresh fish have been impacted by travel restrictions – introduced in an attempt to control the pandemic, and consequently more people are seeking wood from the forest to dry their fish and thereby prolong the longevity of the product.  Also some people have begun exploiting timber for sale as a means of supplementing their income.  Thus, through hardship, the forest is being degraded.

Objective

In this project, supported by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the BIOPAMA Programme, we aim to engage the fisherfolk of Pointe à Larrée in a mutually beneficial relationship in which they can mitigate the impact of the pandemic on their livelihoods while conserving the protected area.

Activities

We will achieve this objective by first animating a series of workshops that will establish the interest in the fisherfolk in creating an association, define the association’s mission, debate its organisational structure and terms of reference for its board, elect the board, then, train the committee members in good governance and task them to develop a pragmatic manual of procedures for validation by the members. This process will be guided by the association MAMPITA, MBG’s partner in this project, who will also legalise the resultant association. MBG staff will be responsible for coaching the committee for the remainder of the action and beyond. Once the association is functional, interested members will be trained in best practice for policing the forest, and then each day during the project, 12 members (3 teams) will be directed to patrol the forest. Any infractions detected will be presented to an existing community structure responsible for applying community rules (the KODINA) for treatment. MBG will also work with association’ members to remove alien invasive trees (such as Melaleuca quinquinervia) from the protected area. The wood from these plants will be transported to the villages, allowed to dry in hangars and eventually burnt to preserve the fish. Those contributing to these tasks will be compensated (with a small percentage of their payments paid to the Association to enable its on-going functioning). To reduce the amount of wood needed for drying fish we will support the Association to install one solar fish drier and one improved wood drier in each of the three main fishing villages. The designs will be those that have already been trialed elsewhere in Madagascar. A group of women in each village will be trained to use the driers by an experienced practitioner from elsewhere. The Association will work with the women to develop modalities to compensate the women for their work.

Progress updates

  •      April 2021: Grant awarded and inception of project

This webpage has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the BIOPAMA Programme. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Missouri Botanical Garden and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union nor of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.

Links to further information

About BIOPAMA

The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme aims to improve the long-term conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, in protected areas and surrounding communities. It is an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States financed by the European Union’s 11th European Development Fund (EDF), jointly implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC). Building on the first five years of activities financed by the 10th EDF (2012-2017), BIOPAMA’s second phase provides tools for data and information management, services for improving the knowledge and capacity for protected area planning and decision making, and funding opportunities for specific site-based actions. BIOPAMA – www.biopama.org; ACP – www.acp.int; EU – www.Europa.eu

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