Blaise Rafamantanantsoa: “I was left with no water in my rice fields”

If you ask Blaise Rafamantanantsoa why he gave three hectares of his land, on the edge of the forest corridor, to start forest landscape restoration activities, he will proudly tell you that it is to protect natural resources and environmental services.

“I was left with no water in my rice field downstream,” he says. “The forest is protecting our water supplies, we need to restore it!”

Climate change
“We can also feel the effects of climate change,” Blaise adds. “Rains are delayed and less important which disturbs significantly the plantations and modifies the cultivation cycle. By restoring the forest we also contribute at our level to combat climate change.”

Unlike reforestation for fuel-wood production which involves fast growing exotic species such as eucalyptus, active restoration uses only indigenous species that will eventually maintain the ecological functions of the forest.

1,000 trees per hectare
Socioecononomic studies carried out in the communities help select those indigenous tree species which are the most used by the local population as well as those which will contribute to refill the stock of rare or endangered trees.

In total, more than a dozen of indigenous species and 3,000 trees are used to restore Blaise’s piece of land (1,000 trees per hectare).

“Passive restoration, without any human intervention, is a slower process dominated by many pioneer species in the beginning, which are not necessarily useful for the community,” explains Rivo Rasolofomanana, WWF’s socio-organizer in Fandriana Marolambo. “This is why it is important to also do active restoration.”

For the entire community
It will take about 30 years before one can start to benefit from the sustainable use of restored forests. Blaise is well aware this is a long time. And while he is the owner of the field, he wants the fruits of restoration to be available to the entire community.

“When time has come, everyone will profit of today’s efforts,” he concludes.

	© Air France / Nicolas Petteau
Appolinaire Razafimahatratra and Blaise Rafamantanantsoa talking about recently planted tree on restoration parcel
© Air France / Nicolas Petteau

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