Two baobab trees along the road to the village in western Madagascar.

Regenerating Madagascar’s Baobab Forest Back to a Vibrant Ecosystem

Category Regenerate

Adansonia grandidieri is the biggest and most iconic of Madagascar's six species of baobabs. These beautiful trees are essential to the western dry forest habitat and provide vital economic and socio-cultural benefits for surrounding communities.

Unfortunately, these baobab habitats are facing an alarming deforestation crisis, with 4,000 hectares of forest loss per year. Yet, those closest to the ecosystem are often left out of conservation and reforestation efforts.

This project, spearheaded by Groupe des Spécialistes et des Passionnés de Baobabs de Madagascar (GSPBM), aims to empower local people to be part of the solution of restoring the baobab forests through women's leadership and community engagement.

The team of the ARO (Assessment-Research-Outreach) Baobab project with the local community group (VOI MITI).

Restoration by the numbers

Under the direction of two women Malagasy conservation biologists specializing in baobab research, support will help develop two tree nurseries with 50,000 native forest trees.

From there, locals will transplant the seedlings to the forest. With the participation of 400 community members, 60 hectares of baobab forest will be restored.

Additionally, a capacity-building workshop will be organized for 50 women, with training on fair and equitable trade and fruit processing for 30 community members. Collectively, this will allow for the implementation of the fruit trade, which will benefit 300 households.

Ensuring women’s leadership

This project will ensure the elevating of women’s leadership in conservation. Many local community groups in Madagascar that are involved in the preservation and management of the protected areas are led by men. Although they won’t be excluded from the project activities, GSPM will ensure that women have leadership and critical roles in each stage.

The nursery in Andranopasy village, western Madagascar.

Women groups at the helm of conservation

All of the activities in this project, from building a tree nursery to the follow-up care of transplanted seedlings, will be led by women from two women's associations and the local community groups.

They are: Vondron’Olona Ifotony (which in Malagasy means “Local Community Group”), Miaro ny Tontolo Iainana (meaning “to Protect the Nature”), and Andranopasy MIasa (the name of the village), as well as the NGO Asity, which manages the protected area near the project sites.

Regenerating Madagascar’s forests

This project's overall goal is to restore the Madagascar deciduous dry forest. Bringing back ecosystems such as this helps reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as trees store carbon in their biomass. They also provide numerous other environmental benefits, such as reducing air pollution, conserving water, and providing habitat for wildlife.

This project’s restoration work will be done at a small scale and provide one of the first system model successes in western Madagascar, where local communities will entirely lead to reforestation and sustainable use of natural resources.

The GSPBM hopes other communities can replicate this model to revive forests worldwide.

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