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Madagascar

Mt. Angavokely

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Conservation benefit: Establishment of a national park

Date Approved: 07.1999

Forest

This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

Mt. Angavokely, 22 kilometers east of the capital city of Antananarivo, is one of the last remaining bits of high-altitude rainforest in all of Madagascar. It is home to over 120 species of rare and endangered orchids. The forest is also an important watershed for three local communities totaling over 20,000 inhabitants.

Seacology is working with the Malagasy environmental organization ARCVERT, faculty from the University of Antananarivo and Uppsala University, and the Service des Stations Forestières to establish a 695-hectare (1,717-acre) national park. A new park will preserve this valuable forest, protecting the rare orchids that grow there. It will also provide welcome recreational opportunities to the residents of Antananarivo.

Project Updates

June 2007

Seacology is funding the repair of walking trails destroyed by a series of cyclones in late 2006/early 2007. The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2007.

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January 2006

The project funding period ended in 2005. Road improvement and rehabilitation of the “Eaux et Forêts” station offices have taken place, as well as removal of invasive pine trees and clearing of fire breaks. Two new rare endemic birds and 120 orchid species were discovered. Eight trails have been built, and 48 individuals from six surrounding villages have received tour guide training. Tour guides from Ambohijafy Village, located at the park entrance, are now the most involved with guiding activities. All six nearby villages have been trained to make alternative charcoal, and the project has now spread to several other villages up to 160 miles from Mt. Angavokely. Endangered orchids have been cultivated at Mt Angavokely and in local nurseries. The camping areas have not been completed due to problems between construction company workers and park management, but construction is underway. ARC VERT is working to extend the protected area at Mt. Angavokely to 1,235 acres.

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January 2005

Nearby villagers continue to support the alternative charcoal program. Removing invasive plants, resetting firebreaks and completing the campsites and a park reception office were completed in 2004. Park road maintenance, orchid propagation and the creation of an orchid green house display area will continue into 2005.

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July 2004

Park roads were rehabilitated and campsite construction is almost complete. Propagation of five species of orchids has begun and nearby villagers are supporting an alternative charcoal program. Due to the recent heavy rainfalls, some invasive pines have grown back. Removing the new invasive plants, resetting the firebreaks and completing a park reception office are all scheduled to be completed this year. A Seacology expedition visited the Mt. Angavokely project in April 2004.

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November 2003

Work is well underway at the park. Roads are being rehabilitated and invasive (and highly flammable) pine trees are being removed to be followed by firebreak construction. Campsite establishment is also underway. Project coordinator and 2003 Seacology Prize recipient Dr. Elisabeth Rabakonandrianina (“Bako”) reports that alternative energy programs have begun with two nearby villages to produce an alternative charcoal that uses rice byproducts instead of wood. Portable solar stoves are also being introduced to the villages.

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