© Teresa Schallinger
Nonetheless, the villagers are expected to try their best in mitigating their impact on the environment. In this special context this means reducing the deforestation rate (about 50 000 ha of natural forest disappear each year in Madagascar; almost 90% of its original forest are already gone) and reforesting the areas heavily affected by erosion. Easier said than done, as wood is the most important natural resource for many Malagasy people, providing firewood for cooking as well as construction material. Also, they tend to clear forests in order to create new agricultural land, primarily to establish rice fields and grazing areas for cattle. For this purpose, traditionally used slash and burn activities are widespread throughout the country, increasing nutrient loss, soil erosion and desertification, not allowing any further growth for decades. So what’s the solution?