Madagascar is remarkable. Many describe its forests and wildlife as magical, mystical, otherworldly, or just plain weird. The largest African island, it's a showcase of evolution, home to many species that are strikingly different, like the emblematic lemurs that are found nowhere else on Earth. Madagascar is also surrounded by the rich, productive waters of the Western Indian Ocean. Deep ocean currents and complex coastal habitats have created spectacular coral reefs that span the coastlines of Kenya, Tanzania, northern Mozambique, and Madagascar. These productive habitats, on land and at sea, are as important to global conservation as they are to the local communities that rely on them.
These island peoples and their natural resources require special attention. They are particularly vulnerable to global climate change.
Help these forests and coral reefs withstand the impacts brought on by a growing human population and global climate change.
How Will We Get There?
Poverty is widespread throughout the region. Local communities are dependent on natural resources for food, livelihoods, and their well-being, which can lead to depletion of these resources through overfishing or land clearing for agriculture. There are new opportunities for communities to participate in the management of their resources, but these groups often lack the capacity to do so effectively.
Our support strategies include:
management of forestry resources and encourage communities to be active partners
in decision-making for conservation and in protected area management.
Develop and implement innovative conservation financing mechanisms, including the Makira Carbon REDD+ Project, as a means of saving wildlife and supporting local community stakeholders.
Build sustainable small-scale fisheries that are co-managed by local communities through locally managed marine areas (LMMA) or alternative models.
Increase the climate resilience of coastal and marine ecosystems, including forests, reefs, and mangroves, and ensure marine protected area (MPA) networks are developed and managed to enhance their climate resilience.
Increase understanding of key species, including primates, sharks, rays, and cetaceans and develop tailored conservation strategies.
Facilitate exchanges and a harmonized approach to conservation efforts by the countries in the region.
WCS has conducted conservation and research activities in Madagascar and the Western Indian Ocean for over 25 years.
67locally managed marine areas
A network of 67 locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) has been established by WCS and partners in Madagascar and is generating invaluable lessons on models of management of sustainable small-scale fisheries with the involvement of local communities.
Coral reefs along
the coastline of Kenya, Tanzania, and northern Mozambique form one of the
planet's largest fringing reefs and support large tropical fish populations,
sharks and rays, dugongs, and sea turtles. Over 80% of the terrestrial species
that are found in Madagascar exist nowhere else on earth and the country's marine
biodiversity is higher than any other Western Indian Ocean country.
At least 15 million people depend upon healthy coral reefs in the Western Indian Ocean region.
The Makira Natural Park, which is managed by WCS, protects 20 species of lemurs and 372,000 hectares of the last remaining stands of low- to mid-elevation tropical rainforest in Madagascar.