Investment is needed to secure and restore fragile forest corridors, and to promote agroforestry to reconcile production with conservation
Makira Natural Park makes up Madagascar’s largest remaining intact humid forest. The country is renowned for its astounding biodiversity; 80% of its wildlife is found nowhere else and 20% finds a home in Makira. Its lush forests contribute high rainfall and support a watershed covering a vast area of 2.5 million hectares. Despite its importance, Makira is under threat from slash-and-burn deforestation. Rising population pressure is increasing demand for agricultural land primarily for rice cultivation (known as ‘tavy’). In the Analanjirofo region, where the majority of Makira is located, 460,000 hectares of tree cover was lost between 2001 and 2017, an area larger than park itself.
WCS has had a long presence in the landscape, dating back to 1992. We supported the creation of Makira Natural Park (2012) and Masoala National Park (1997), and work closely with the Government, providing technical support for park management. We work with local communities, securing rights and supporting sustainable land use.
An innovative carbon financing scheme covering 350,000 hectares inside Makira Natural Park has also been designed to reduce deforestation pressures from rice production in community-managed lands around the border. This scheme was registered to sell carbon credits in 2013 – the first in Madagascar accredited to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). Participating community management groups (Communautés locales de Base, known as COBAs) receive 50% of revenue from credit sales with the remainder supporting park management (20%), government activities to tackle climate change (20%) and monitoring, marketing and verification (10%). The project will prevent emissions of around 32.5 million tonnes of CO2 over 30 years and has already saved 74,000 hectares of forest.
Today, deforestation is 25% lower in community management areas and 84% lower within the park compared to historical rates. We are expanding our work to restore forest corridors in the park, support a transition to sustainable agroforestry, and restore 15,000 hectares of degraded areas within the buffer zone.