© WWF / Olivier LANGRAND
The Betsiboka Estuary on the northwest coast of Madagascar is the mouth of Madagascar’s largest river and one of the world’s fast-changing coastlines. Nearly a century of extensive logging of Madagascar’s rainforests and coastal mangroves has resulted in nearly complete clearing of the land and fantastic rates of erosion. After every heavy rain, the bright red soils are washed from the hillsides into the streams and rivers to the coast. Astronauts describe their view of Madagascar as “bleeding into the ocean.”
© NASA Earth Observatory
Madagascar’s unique biodiversity is facing numerous threats, but deforestation is among the most serious. Small-scale, but widespread clearance of vegetation - primarily for slash and burn agriculture and for firewood and charcoal production - is the main cause of forest destruction and degradation.
As Madagascar's forests continue to be cut, all that remains is a red trail that runs down the rivers into the sea.

Soil erosion, which corresponds to the loss of topsoil, is leaving the land naked and unfit for agriculture.

Downstream, increased sediment loads are silting estuaries and smothering sensitive marine habitats.

As a result, marine species lose their habitat. Farmers and fishermen lose their source of income.

Deforestation also increases greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), emissions from deforestation account for about 15% of the global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Holistic Conservation Programme for Forests in Madagascar, a 4 year project funded by the French Foundation GoodPlanet - with Air France as sole sponsor - and implemented in the field by WWF, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation and forest degradation in Madagascar.

This will subsequently contribute to improve the livelihoods of local communities and preserve Madagascar’s biodiversity.

The project covers an area of more than 500,000 ha of high conservation value forests:
  • 380,000 hectares of moist forest
  • 125,000 hectares of dry, spiny forest


Moving on at a fast pace

As it enters into its last stage, the Holistic Conservation Programme for Forests (HCPF) is moving on at the fastest pace ever with very successful, and sometimes spectacular, results – both quantitatively and qualitatively. Read

VIDEO: Management transfer in Fandriana

Transfers of natural resources management from the State to grassroots communities is immensely important for local people who are invested with new responsibilities. The ceremony is always joyful and festive.

VIDEO: Success for the LIDAR mission

The most important mission of the “carbon assessment” component of the Holistic Conservation Programme for Forests (HCPF) in Madagascar  took place at the end of March 2010. A two-engine Cessna equipped with the LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology flew over the two largest sites of the programme to measure precisely the height of the forest’s canopy and understory.  Read

3-D fly over the forest

Watch the Lidar clip here


HCPF at Rio+20

The HCPF was prominently featured during Goodplanet's Film Festival at Rio+20. During it's Forest Evening, Goodplanet showed "Amazonia Eterna", a film about a forest that generates hope, opportunity and future. The largest rainforest on the Planet is already the object of several initiatives that successfully combine ecology and economy. The screening was folllowed by a discussion with:
Belisario Franca film director of Amazonia Eterna
Carlos Eduardo Young, economist and professor at the Rio de Janeiro Federal University (UFRJ), and a specialist in sustainable development and economic tools for the environment
Matthieu Tiberghien, Action Carbone project manager for GoodPlanet
Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director, Conservation of WWF International
Jacques Moineville, Associate Chief Executive Officer at AFD
	© WWF Madagascar / Martina Lippuner
WWF staff being interviewed during the PHCF press trip, Fort Dauphin, Oct 2011
© WWF Madagascar / Martina Lippuner

Press Trip

Invited by Air France, the exclusive sponsor of the HCPF, several journalists from large French media groups travelled to Madagascar from 5 to 9 October to see what the HCPF had achieved, three years after its launch. After the first day spent essentially on learning about carbon accounting, our vahiny ("guests" in Malagasy) visited the remarkable spiny forests in the south to discover this unique world and all the measures taken by WWF to preserve it. A day rich in discoveries and emotions for all participants.

Participating media:
TV5 Monde, Europe 1, Paris Match, Les Echos, Le Point, Youphil, Memento

Good Planet side event in Durban

The goal of the 17th Conference of the Parties (cop17) was to find an international agreement to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and stay below 2°C global warming but they have only been partly achieved. Even if now, everybody admits the necessity of the engagement of every country through the creation of a treaty, the implementation planning (from 2020) does not fit with the climate reality. Following the results achieved in Durban the global warming will reach 4°C. Three members of Action Carbone, a program of GoodPlanet, took part in the conference. They presented the progress of the HCPF during an official side event which focused on the results of this project. Madagascar National Parks, the National Office for the Environment and Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) were invited.
	© WWF MWIOPO / Martina Lippuner
Marie-Hélène Rasoalalanirina, field agent for WWF Andapa, Madagascar
© WWF MWIOPO / Martina Lippuner

Meet the staff

Some 70 dedicated people work for the the Holistic Conservation Programme for Forests. Meet with them. Today: all the project and site managers, as well as the staff in ANDAPA


The Holistic Conservation Programme for Forests works with and for thousands of people. Many have very interesting things to say. Today read the stories of Kotobatovisa, Monsieur Boba, the women of Tsaratanana and the gardener, all from Vondrozo.

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