MADAGASCAR, Manafiafy - January 2010
Reintroduction and monitoring of 3,000 critically endangered palms; environmental education in two village schools; and construction of a permanent research monitoring station, kitchen, and guard house in support of the protection of 1,038 acres of rare littoral (coastal) forest
Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, has been recognized as one of the world’s top eight mega-biodiversity countries with some of the planet’s most threatened ecosystems. Approximately 80% of Madagascar’s plants and animals are endemic. Unfortunately, more than 90% of Madagascar's original forest cover has been lost since the time of human arrival, only 2,300 years ago. In 2005, the nonprofit organization Azafady successfully completed their previous Seacology funded-project with the construction of tree nurseries, and camps for workers and volunteers, for local community monitoring of a rare littoral forest. Azafady's current main environmental program, called Project Voly Hazo (“planting trees”), includes the reintroduction of two critically endangered endemic palm species grown in the Seacology-funded nurseries: Dypsis saintelucei and Beccariophoenix madagascariensis into the 1,038-acre S17 coastal forest fragment. With Seacology’s assistance, Azafady will transport, replant, and monitor these palms while also conducting environmental education related to this project in several local schools. To facilitate long-term monitoring, they also plan to build a permanent research station, kitchen and guard house, as requested by the community during a public consultation when designating the protected areas.
UPDATE June 2010 - As of June 2010 field representative Erik Patel reports that numerous pre-project community meetings have been held and the purchase and transport of most of the building materials to the construction site has been completed. Additionally, construction has been completed on the Research Station Sitting House (which has been named the "Seacology House") and the guard house. Approximately 500 seedlings of rare palms (Dypsis saintelucei) have been transplanted.
UPDATE June 2011 - All planting for the project was finished in December 2010. This was achieved by Azafady Conservation Program volunteers planting approximately 500 palms, and the Azafady Pioneer October 2010 program planting just over 3,000 palms. Project coordinator Brett Massoud personally visited the planting site in February, and was pleased to see the excellent progress of the plants, the majority of which looked well established with plenty of new growth. A few plants, mainly a very small number (less than 10) planted in full sun, had died; however, Brett did not witness any loss of the palms planted in the forest or on the forest edge. His February visit was cut short by very heavy rain and his subsequent evacuation from Sainte Luce when Cyclone Bingiza struck the area, and reports from Sainte Luce were that there were significant large tree falls which may have caused damage. It was the intention during February to complete the kitchen and bathroom facilities, however the weather once again made it impossible. The kitchen and toilet designs were agreed upon, however, and stones were delivered to the site by local people. The guard house is now fully complete, has been painted with insect proofing paint, and furnished with a bed and table, as well as solar lighting. A temporary sitting house under a small canvas is being used while a solution is sought to the total destruction of the sitting house by bad weather last September.
Indicates full or partial funding by Seacology Germany