Ensuring conservation is a success in Madagascar:


In addressing environmental problems in Madagascar, it is important that decision makers not only be concerned with the transformation of existing natural ecosystems, but also the more rational utilization of already cleared and degraded areas (for example the use of "savoka" gardens). To lessen future forest loss, we must increase and sustain the productivity of farms, pastures, plantations, and scrub land in addition to restoring species and ecosystems to degraded habitats. By reducing wasteful land-use practices, consolidating gains on existing cleared lands, and improving already developed lands,we can diminish the need to clear additional forest.

Research and experience have shown that the restoration of entire ecosystems is most possible in regions where parts or at least remnants of the original forest still remain and there are few human population pressures. Small clearings surrounded by forest recover quickly and large sections may recover in time, especially if some assistance in the reforestation process is provided. After several years, a once barren field can once again support vegetation in the form of pioneer species and secondary growth. Although the secondary forest will be low in diversity and poorly developed, the forest cover will be adequate for some species to return (assuming they still exist). In addition, the newly forested patch can be used for the sustainable harvest of forest products and low-intensity logging and agriculture.


Laws protecting the environment in Madagascar have been on the books since the 19th century but have had little effect. Effective conservation efforts will require the consistent enforcement of existing laws.

Corruption has long been associated with the violation of environmental statutes in Madagascar: pay a bribe to the right official and certain prohibited activities will be overlooked. This has all changed in the last couple of years with the push by president Ravalomanana to clean up business affairs and the legitimizing of SAPM (ANGAP) (Madagascar's national parks service) by giving it the power to enforce the law.

<< Previous | Next >>

Conservation index