Motivated people

In Ivohibe, in the South-East of Madagascar, most of the local communities have warmly welcomed the initiaitves of the Holistic Programme for Forest Conservation initiatives.
This region features hilly grasslands and an important forest corridor, the conservation of which is crucial for both the island’s biodiversity and the local communities’ livelihoods.

Between October 2008 and March 2009, WWF carried out several different activities, including the organization of awareness raising campaigns in the villages to explain the origin and effects of global warming and climate change.

“It is not a simple task,” admits Joël Raveloson, Head of Project in Ivohibé-Andringitra. “Everybody has noticed how late the rainy and cyclonic seasons came and most of the people feel that something is wrong with the climate. But only few actually make the link with their activities.”

However, the population is well aware of another serious environmental issue – the increasingly shrinking timber resources.

“As a result, the communities are more receptive when we encourage them to sustainably manage their natural resources,” adds Raveloson. 

Local radio show
The project’s information, sensitization and awareness raising activities on this issue have mostly been developed in village meetings but also aired on the local radio Soa Akata (“Good herbs”).

Soa Akata broadcasts two 30-minute environmental programmes each week and WWF can regularly intervene on priority issues such as climate change, natural resources management and reforestation.  

Successful reforestation campaign
This year’s reforestation campaign has been very successful in Ivohibe. Local communities have committed to reforest two hectares of degraded land in seven different fokontany – a fokontany is the smallest administrative unit in Madagascar. In each of the fokontany, small committees will supervise and monitor the operations.
   
“Before, only grassroots communities (COBA) and schools were interested in planting trees,” says Raveloson. “But today, local associations and individuals also want to participate in, and contribute to, the reforestation campaign.”

Representatives from the grassroots communities and local gardeners have been trained on nursery maintenance and tree planting techniques.

In addition, following consultations with the population, 45 hectares of land have been identified for reforestation activities in the villages of Ivohibe and Antambohobe. 

One species of pine (Pinus caribea), eucalyptus (Eucalyptus sp.), acacia (Acacia sp) and fruit trees will be used. Samplings and seeds will be provided both by WWF and local farmers.

Workshops on new protected areas
Together with the technical experts of the Fandriana-Vondrozo Corridor (COFAV), WWF also organized workshops on new protected areas in each of the villages of the district.

The aim of these workshops is to inform the communities on the creation of new protected areas and identify with them land use planning, available management methods and measures to implement in each of the existing forest zone.

Thanks to this collaboration with local communities, three main areas have already been identified for protection, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

This year, Forest Landscape Restoration activities will focus on a 15-hectare site already identified. They will involve five COBAs in the villages of Ivohibé et Antambohobe.

Pioneer tree species – such as Harungana madagascariensis – will be planted directly to rapidly re-colonize degraded land; and wild tree species gathered in natural forests will be re-planted on forest edges.
 / ©: Olivier van Bogaert
Ivohibe village and surroundings
© Olivier van Bogaert
 / ©: Olivier van Bogaert
WWF Lovanirina Joël Raveloson, Martial Rakotondrasoa and Diamondra Fananako Andriambololona discuss reforestation issues with Richard Tsirinasy Bendala, a local community leader (on the right)
© Olivier van Bogaert
 / ©: WWF/Joël Raveloson
Deforested hillside where forest restoration will take place. Ivohibe, Madagascar
© WWF/Joël Raveloson

Upcoming activities

Reforestation and restoration
In addition to sensitization, reforestation activities will focus on selecting and training model farmers to manage tree nurseries and produce the samplings needed for reforestation.

In Ivohibe, there is a will to strengthen the current approach and find even more people able to disseminate information to, and sensitize, other members of the community on the importance of reforestation.

During the initial six months of the project, 50 brochures, as many booklets and 100 posters were distributed in the main villages to raise awareness on environmental degradation.

Village meetings and door-to-door contacts, as well as monitoring of the use of all provided education materials will complete the strategy.

Active and passive forest restoration will also continue.

  •  / ©: Olivier van Bogaert

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