Exploring policy pathways considering migration dynamics in the sustainable management of protected areas in Madagascar.
I have worked hard here with Dr Sama Zefania head of IESM (University of Menabe) trying to make progress with our UoW-funded PSF project: Exploring policy pathways considering migration dynamics in the sustainable management of protected areas in Madagascar. IESM is our external partner in the implementation of this project. We are on the preparation phase of the project, meeting authorities, key partners and research assistants. Eights students from IESM will be engaged in data collection in Menabe and Androy interviewing migrants and local authorities to understand reasons of migration and its link with deforestation within Menabe Protected Area. I recall that Menabe protected area (210,000 hectares) has an exceptional biodiversity with very high rate of species endemism but has faced rapid deforestation hypothesised to be exacerbated by migration of people from Southern Madagascar, the driest region, located in the extreme south of the country. It is believed that migrants have fled from drought and hard life condition in South to squat in the forest or settle in villages near the protected area to practice slash and burn agriculture and grow maize and peanuts. In collaboration with local partners and authorities here in Menabe, our PSF project aims at unravelling socioecological complexities and increasing awareness in order to promote informed policy decisions.