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Ambatosarotse, Malaintsatroke, Ala Mahavelo


Conservation benefit: Protection and reforestation of 1,152 acres of forest for 10 years

Community benefit: Gear for patrols; native plant nurseries; environmental education in schools


Date Approved: 06.2024


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

Madagascar perfectly illustrates why Seacology focuses on islands. On this isolated island, thousands of species evolved that exist nowhere else; if they are lost there, they are lost to the world forever. Many of them, sadly, have already been lost. Many Malagasy people are very poor, and in desperation turn to poaching, logging, mining, and slash-and-burn agriculture.

This project will conserve three tracts, totaling more than a thousand acres, of dry spiny forest. Over 80% of the island’s spiny forest has already been cut, primarily for charcoal production. These new protected areas could not be used or exploited, which would protect the habitat of many threatened or endangered species. One is the once-abundant radiated tortoise. Its population has plummeted because of poaching and habitat destruction; given current trends, the species could be extinct in the wild within 20 years. Similarly, the population of a critically endangered lemur called the Verreaux’s sifaka is estimated to have declined by more than 80% in 30 years. The forest is also home to spider tortoises, ring-tailed lemurs, chameleons, and several species of rosewood—all endangered.

Our partner is the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), which reintroduces to the wild animals seized from smugglers and works to preserve spiny forest. It has built solid relationships with these villages, funding schools and providing environmental education, training, and jobs at its Conservation Outreach Center in Ala Mahavelo.

Most villagers grow crops and raise livestock, livelihoods that are being disrupted by deforestation, climate change, and water insecurity. They frequently need food aid from international organizations. To help them get back healthy forests that help ensure a regular water supply, more productive soil, and sustainable forest products, they will learn how to run tree nurseries and plant native trees. Volunteers will be trained as forest guards; outfitted with GPS, phones with solar chargers, and boots, they will patrol regularly with TSA staff.

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