MADAGASCAR - The Sacred Forests of Sakoantovo and Vohimasio

Posted on June, 01 2003

The Mahafaly and Tandroy communities of Southern Madagascar, local authorities and the Malagasy government have committed to conserve the sacred forests of Sakoantovo (6,163 hectares) and Vohimasio (30,170 hectares). The responsibility for management of these forests was transferred to the local population through an agreement between the Ministry of the Environment, Water and Forests and local communities represented by their traditional leaders.

Through their Local Management Committees, the communities of Sakoantovo and Vohimasio commit to sustainably manage these culturally and biologically unique sacred forests. A management plan for each forest will be finalized in 2004. Efforts are underway to gain further legal recognition for the areas as 'agreed protected areas' or provincial parks in 2005.

By recognising these 2 initiatives as a Gift to the Earth, WWF celebrates an innovative approach to conservation in which modern forest management mechanisms and traditional norms reinforce one another. WWF intends to publicly recognize the outstanding efforts of the Malagasy government, local communities, and local conservation organizations in implementing such an approach.
Sacred forest of Sakoantovo. Gift to the Earth Ceremony, Madagascar.
Sacred forest of Sakoantovo. Gift to the Earth Ceremony, Madagascar.
© WWF / Richard HAMILTON