(6/6) Why protect forests Makay?

After initiating in 2018 a beekeeping pilot project ("Miel du Makay"), Naturevolution start a reforestation project near the villages of Makay: "1 million trees for the Makay". But we could start this project without you explain this autumn how it fits in both a specific local context and in a worrying global context. Through 6 items we take stock of the current state of deforestation, commitments and actions initiated by the different governments, reforestation initiatives in terms especially in Madagascar and finally the possible actions to your scale to fight against deforestation . An entire program !

Makay Massif forest in Madagascar

Protect forests?

It may seem obvious. But when you have to choose between, on the one hand, practices inherited from tradition, which provide an admittedly low but daily income, and whose negative impacts are hardly noticeable in the short term, and, on the other hand, a strategy of protection of forests for the benefit of all in the long term, but that requires changing entrenched habits (Eg, those regularly trigger lights or conduct herds of zebu in forestés massive canyons), it is good to do inventory ecosystem services provided by forestsWhich are all reasons to protect them.

It is easier to realize the benefits of forests to communities along the Makay when we see the damage caused by their disappearance : Silting of rice, decreased rainfall in dry season, lack of food resources during lean periods. And, like any large area forestée, forests of the massif also of great service regional and global levels.

Getting light of ecosystem services provided by forests with sustainable development objectives. CLIC on the image to see it bigger.

Forest products

Forests can be considered - from a utilitarian point of view - as a vast renewable resource pool for providing energy, food, medicines and materials: trees provide timber, the other heating and cooking wood or fruit, while their cover can house plants and shrubs providing medicinal plants, berries and other tubers. The forests are also home to native animals and invasive, it is legal to hunt or illegal poaching ...

Lémurien Sifaka
Sifaka lemur in the massive Makay, an animal still poached.

Protection against soil erosion / fertility

Deforestation weakens soils. The presence of a forest on a soil tends to make that soil not only richer in organic matter, but also more resistant to erosion thanks to the roots of the trees which hold the surface layer of the soil in place.

As a result, when a forest area is destroyed, the soil structure is weakened and it presents a risk of being washed away by inclement weather. The previously forested land thus loses its fertility, and the ecosystem becomes more vulnerable to natural disastersSuch as landslides or floods. The villages located on the periphery of Makay and therefore downstream watercourses suffer directly the consequences of erosion: the rice fields located along rivers are found in raw silted in rainy season and lose performance.

A lavaka du Makay, Madagascar

A local and regional water tower

Forests play an essential role in the water cycle. A shaft break daily 4000 liters of water by evapotranspiration, resulting in the formation of clouds. These clouds can then end blocked by a mountain range that triggers precipitation.

The Makay is a strategic site when it comes to water: at the origin of an important hydrographic network, it supplies water throughout the year to a large part of western Madagascar. It turns out that at the intersection of 3 large watersheds : the Maharivo and Morodave basins to the west, the Mangoky basin to the south, and the Sakeny basin, a tributary of the Tsiribihina, to the east. The Makay river in particular, located on the south-eastern slope of the massif, is a tributary of the right bank of the Mangoky river litt. " black water ”(2nd largest river in Madagascar) and drains part of the eponymous massif, in particular that comprising the largest forests.

Makay hydrographic system map

An extremely rich biological habitat

Forests are true refuges and reservoirs of biodiversity. Makay, although located in western Madagascar rather favorable to the dry forest, home to canyons in the tropical forests similar to those in the east of the island. Madagascar has experienced a devastating deforestationIt is imperative to protect the remaining forests and all the wildlife they harbor, part of which is unique to Madagascar or the Makay.

The fauna and flora of the Makay

It is also better protect existing forests, rather than hoping replant them in the future. And reforestation offers amazing opportunitiesIt also has serious limitations, and actively recreate biodiversity-rich forests is not an easy task!

As for natural regeneration, it is extremely slow : a new study studied the regeneration of forests on abandoned agricultural land. If 50 years are needed to find the number of species in old forests (which makes secondary forest species worthy of protection shelters) it takes centuries before their composition resembles that of ancient forests. The French botanist Francis HalléWhose books are a pleasure to read, estimated 700 years the time required for a full cut rainforest rebirth from the ashes and regains its state primary. The process is related in the beautiful film " There was a forest ».

A source of new sustainable income

A massive splendid showing healthy forests can generate income from sustainable economic activities such asecotourism andapicultureThat Naturevolution encourages and helps to develop the villages. It is in this sense that the beauty and richness of Makay and forests are key to both its protection and better living river communities.

An asset in the climate crisis

Trees absorb and store CO2, and ancient forests are great carbon sinks. Deforestation not only reduces the capacity to store CO2, but worse, it is itself a major cause of the climate crisis, and not the least: according to IPCC, Deforestation is responsible for 12% of CO2 emissions.

Canyon moist forest massif Makay in Madagascar
Canyon moist forest massif Makay in Madagascar.

Our strategy to protect the forests of Makay

To reduce human pressures, including deforestation in the mountains while improving the living conditions of local communities, develops Naturevolution a holistic management strategy of New Protected Area of ​​Makay. She articulates next several interconnected areas:

  • The development of sustainable economic activities directly linked with healthy ecosystems (beekeeping, ecotourism)
  • The social development, Through education (schools), but also the improvement of living conditions (food, materials, health)
  • Finally, reducing the impact of the massive, through awareness raising (of the role of the forest and the danger of fires) and the reduction of wood harvesting (for example, via alternative cooking methods to replace open hearths) or of animals carried out in the massif.
Educational activities with the children of Makay
Educational activities with the children of Makay

Launch of the Village Forest Project

It is within the framework of this strategy that Naturevolution is launching the village forests. This project aims to replant forests for the direct benefit of the villagers at the level of degraded buffer zones located between the villages and the massif.

Reforestation will target species allowing meet basic needs and improve living conditions. The well developed plots will contribute to the local power supply, provide firewood, building and cooking, and also contain honey and medicinal plants. The proximity of plots reforested with the villages will also save time and effort compared to the villagers of samples taken in several hours of walking in the mountains, and their use will allow communities to train for sustainable forest management.

The project started in spring 2019 in four pilot villages, each with a nursery with a goal for the end of 2019 18 000 plants per nursery, or 72 hectares can be reforested.

Nursery for reforestation, Makay Massif, Madagascar
A first project nurseries Forestry vilageoises launched in 2019.

Our Partners

Initial funding to the tune of € 10,000 was obtained from Ermada - Sale of Malagasy handicraftsEnabling the launch of 1 Million trees project for the Makay. Maltem is an ecosystem of specialized consulting companies in the digital transformation and sustainable innovation, and a partner of Naturevolution since 2016.

The entire series of articles

An article proposed by Gaëtan Deltour and Yann Bigant

Learn more about this project

Reforest the periphery of the New Protected Area of ​​Makay

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