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Conservation benefit: Protection for 20 years of 4,448 acres of threatened southwestern dry spiny forest

Community benefit: Construction of an ecotourist welcome center, restrooms, guardian hut, cooking hut, and signage

Date Approved: 06.2013


This project supports a local conservation-based tourism initiative.


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

Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is one of the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots. Eighty percent of Madagascar’s plants and animals are endemic–that is, they occur nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, more than 90 percent of Madagascar’s original forest cover has been lost since humans arrived, only 2,300 years ago.

The south of Madagascar is one of the country’s poorest regions. Droughts, wildfires, and locust invasions frequently lead to malnutrition and hunger. The dry deciduous forest there is easy to clear and suffers the highest deforestation rate of any forest type. People cut trees to make charcoal or to clear land for slash-and-burn maize farming. Both practices are major drivers of deforestation.

PK32-Ranobe is a new protected area that has long been recognized as a conservation priority. It is located in southwestern Madagascar, approximately 25 miles north of the coastal city of Tulear. The reserve contains eight lemur species, four of which are vulnerable and threatened by hunting. Numerous other endemic, threatened or endangered plants and animals live there as well.

We will be working with Ho Avy (“future” in Malagasy), an organization that was established in 2007. It is one of the few grassroots organizations engaged in community conservation and sustainable development in southwest Madagascar.

The people of Ranobe have expressed interest in a visitors center for many years, as their village is the gateway to this protected area. Seacology is funding construction of an ecotourism center. In return, the community will stop disturbing any habitat in a 4,448-acre part of the protected area near their village for 20 years. The community will also participate in all environmental protection activities that Ho Avy initiates.

Project Updates

May 2016

The ecotourism center at Ankilibe, in southern Madagascar, is now complete and ready to welcome visitors. It includes a small tree nursery, which will aid in replanting a nearby acre of forest, which was degraded a few months ago by a business that wanted to create a sea cucumber farm. An outcry from the villagers and the staff of our partner organization, Ho Avy, stopped the deforestation.

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January 2016

The building at Ankilibe is almost complete; doors and windows were recently installed.

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May 2015

Considerable progress is being made at both sites, after an issue with the building contractor was resolved. The final installment of Seacology funds was recently sent. Construction is approximately 80% complete at the southern site (Ankilibe) and expected to be finished by mid-June. The northern site (PK32) is 20% built and should be complete by September.

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January 2015

Two welcome and ecotourism centers (at the northern Ambalaboy site and southern Ankilibe site) are being built, and tremendous and rapid progress has been made over the last four months. Construction is approximately 50% complete at the southern site and has recently begun at the northern site.

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February 2014

Construction is underway; stone columns have been constructed for the raised floor, solar equipment has been procured, and wood and doors are currently being milled and will be delivered by the end of January 2014. Well material has been delivered to the site. Project leaders are acquiring legal land tenure for the site, which should be formalized by mid-February 2014.

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