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Conservation Allies and USAID Unite to Voluntarily Relocate Hundreds of Families in Madagascar in an Urgent Bid to Save One of the Planet’s Most Threatened Protected Areas

Monday, 03 June 2024 09:00 PM

Conservation Allies

WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / June 3, 2024 / Madagascar's forests face exploitation due to poverty, driving rapid deforestation and endangering wildlife, notably in the Menabe Antimena area. To tackle this, USAID, with support from Conservation Allies, is aiding the voluntary relocation of families from Protected Areas to farmable land where they are provided with land ownership and support, curbing deforestation and protecting biodiversity.

Avisoa's Farm
Avisoa's Farm
Avisoa Fidèle Randriamanana, one of the recipients of Mikajy initiative, working on his new farmland.

Madagascar's protected forests are often exploited by local people due to their natural resources and the high rates of poverty in the country. An increasing demand for timber and land to grow crops, together with rapid population growth, is driving deforestation and putting immense pressure on Madagascar's already endangered wildlife.

There is no better example of this than the Menabe Antimena Protected Area in western Madagascar where large numbers of migrants from the southern region of the country have been illegally entering the national reserve, clearing its forests to plant corn and peanuts.

Menabe Antimena is one of the most important conservation priorities on the planet, with three species being found nowhere else on Earth (including the smallest primate in the world, Madame Berthe's mouse lemur). Despite this, over 50% of Menabe Antimena's forests have been destroyed in just the last 15 years.

USAID Mikajy is an initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where it has partnered with local authorities and communities to tackle this crisis in Menabe Antimena. USAID supported the Government of Madagascar in marking 15,170 acres of unused, non-forested state lands in Bezeky to be granted to relocated families through the "Titre Vert" (Green Title) initiative.

Each migrant family relocating to Bezeky will receive full ownership of five acres after four years of farming the land. USAID is supporting a generous livelihoods package, including providing alternative income opportunities, sustainable agriculture training, dependable water access, social services, technical support, and support in selling their produce.

"We had witnessed the degradation of the Menabe Antimena forest. We heard that there would be support and cultivation plots to distribute in Bezeky, so I decided to go there. I wanted a chance to get my own land and start a new life," said 25-year-old Avisoa Fidèle Randriamanana. Alongside 199 other families, he made the decision to stop deforesting the Protected Area and relocate to Bezeky with his family.

Conservation Allies, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting conservation initiatives in the global south, provided emergency support to USAID Mikajy to mobilize law enforcement protection at Bezeky and ensure safety for the 200 migrant families who voluntarily relocated. Now, people willing to relocate to Bezeky will be able to own and invest in their land while enhancing its productivity, rather than destroying the Menabe Antimena Protected Area.

Contact Information

Soro Cyrene
Conservation Communications Officer
[email protected]

Paul Salaman
[email protected]

SOURCE: Conservation Allies


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Environmental, Social and Governance
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