Macolline is a 25-acre nature reserve in northeastern Madagascar, a biodiversity hotspot that contains Masoala National Park. The reserve was founded by a local philanthropist and botanical enthusiast (a tree species she discovered was named for her) and is managed by a community association. The reserve is located next to the small city of Antalaha, one of the centers of illegal rosewood logging.
Much of Madagascar’s original forest cover has been lost, and today few Malagasy children learn about the island’s fantastically rich and unique natural resources. Macolline both preserves the only forest accessible to youth in Antalaha, and introduces those children to its wonders.
The reserve’s goals are to:
- Preserve forest habitat. The reserve has more than 200 species of predominantly native trees, palms, and bamboo. Animals include snakes, chameleons, geckos, birds, and bamboo lemurs.
- Educate children about the environment. Before Cyclone Enawo hit, the reserve welcomed 2,000 to 3,000 local students each year.
- Plant native trees. The reserve operates the largest tree nursery in the region. As a result, tens of thousands of trees, including rosewood and ebony, have been planted in the area.
In 2017, Cyclone Enawo, a category 4 storm, devastated Antalaha and severely damaged Macolline. The storm destroyed the reserve’s environmental education center, the manager’s house, and two viewing platforms. The education center contained a space for classes and a small library, and displayed educational posters the staff had collected. Its loss crippled the education program.
The reserve will use a Seacology grant to help fund the rebuilding process and support ongoing environmental education.