A project supporting people to manage their natural resources in the Ambatoatsignana forest zone, Anosy region.
Picture a lush forest packed with plants and animals that do not exist anywhere else in the world. It must be a pretty special place, right? The people of Sainte Luce live with a forest like this on their doorstep but for them, its role as a source of food, shelter and income is more important than its beauty or scientific interest.
Island-wide, over 80% of the population of Madagascar live in poverty, depending directly on natural resources for their livelihoodsUNDP, 2013
Destructive practices such as charcoal production or tavy (slash and burn agriculture) are common, and although these provide short-term benefits, they ultimately threaten both the forest and community’s long-term future, as well as that of the many endangered species, including the Phelsuma gecko.
Previous conservation initiatives in Sainte Luce usually ignored the needs and opinions of local communities, resulting in over 10% of the forest being cut down between 1999-2010. With the added problems of mining activities in the area, collective action to better conserve this unique forest is needed now more than ever.
The Miaro Committee and its three sub-committees meet on an ongoing basis to guide and advise all of our present and future conservation and alternative livelihood efforts in Sainte Luce.
Project Miaro aimed to help the community of Sainte Luce to manage their natural resources in a long-term, sustainable way. SEED Madagascar supported the community to identify their own priority areas and put these into a formal Community Environmental Action Plan. We assisted them to carry out the activities that they deemed most important.
The community’s current priorities include developing a locally managed tree nursery to care for local endangered species as well as to provide a stock of fast-growing trees. At the request of the local community, SEED Madagascar have also supported people to consider alternative employment options that do not harm the forest, such as developing reed plantations to support traditional weaving practices and generating ecotourism opportunities in the local area.
Miaro has directly benefited some 2,000 people through improved and more sustainable livelihoods, with the wider benefits extending to the surrounding communities of some 12,000 people – and around the world through the preservation of this unique environment.
Australian Aid, British Embassy Antananarivo, Open Gate Trust, Rufford Foundation.