New national park inaugurated in Madagascar | WWF
New national park inaugurated in Madagascar

Posted on 04 June 2000

WWF welcomes the establishment of Marojejy National Park, in north-eastern Madagascar.
Antananarivo, Madagascar - WWF, the conservation organization, welcomes the establishment of Marojejy National Park, which was inaugurated today by the Malagasy government. Located in north-eastern Madagascar, the Marojejy chain is one of the country's best-preserved mountain areas (1).

Since 1993, WWF and its partners have been promoting conservation and sustainable development to benefit the communities that border the new park (2). With several peaks of more than 2,000-metres, and an area of 60,000-hectares, Marojejy has major potential both for research and hiking-based ecotourism.

"Research in Marojejy has clearly demonstrated the biological importance of the site," explains Steve Goodman, who is responsible for biological surveys within WWF's Madagascar Programme. "In 1996, following a detailed census carried out in the entire area, a team of international and national specialists determined that the Marojejy mountains harboured the most diverse ecosystems known in Madagascar."

As for the partnership that has been built up with the neighbouring community of Belambo-Lokoho, it is the first of its kind on the island (3). Under the revised Malagasy forest law, this community has taken over the running of a community forest, just outside the park. A management structure has been put in place and has been strengthened by the creation of a dina, a traditional agreement that regulates community relations.

"Communities are involved in the development of different aspects of ecotourism, such as visitors' facilities," says Anjara Manatsara, National Director of the project. "Thus, conservation goals in Marojejy have attracted new supporters, who have understood how the park could enhance the development of the area."

Four different types of primary forest ecosystems are found in Marojejy National Park (4). It is home to more ferns and palm tree species - many of which are endemic - than in any other protected areas in Madagascar, and to numerous reptiles and amphibians. In addition, Marojejy is the only sanctuary for the silky sifaka, one of the nine lemur species that live in the park.

For further information:
Sylvain Rafiadana-Ntsoa, WWF Programme Office in Madagascar,
tel.: +261 20 22 348 85 / 22 304 20 or + 261 30 23 888 05 / 23 888 06. E-mail : srafiadana@server.wwf.mg

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. Marojejy was declared a Strict Nature Reserve in 1952. In 1998 it changed status and became National Park N°13
  2. WWF Programme Office in Madagascar collaborates with the National Association for the Protected Areas Management (ANGAP) and is supported by the Malagasy government, the German aid agency Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), and WWF-Germany.
  3. Following a participatory process, the Balambo-Lokoho community designated a Village Management Committee. It was agreed with the government that the community would be allowed to manage a 400-hectare forest on its territory for a renewable period of three years. This initiative - the first of its kind in Madagascar - now serves as a model for the National Environmental Action Plan.
  4. These ecosystems are: evergreen lowland moist forest, montane moist forest (at an altitude of 800 to 1,400 metres), montane sclerophyll forest (1,400 to 1,800 metres), and shrub forest (above 1,800 metres)
  5. Palm trees: 30 species have been recorded, many of which are endemic. Ferns: 260 species or subspecies recorded. Fauna: 60 species of reptiles and 49 species of amphibians, some of which are endemic ; and 107 bird species, of which 70 are endemic.