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Migration & management of protected areas in Madagascar

Exploring policy pathways considering migration dynamics in the sustainable management of protected areas in Madagascar

IGSD aims to be at the forefront of knowledge innovation enabling change towards a more sustainable, prosperous and healthier planet. Our Research Fellow Dr Herizo Andrianandrasana has received support from the University of Warwick to conduct a research project that aims to better understand the link between deforestation and the dynamics of migration in the Menabe Antimena Protected Area, western Madagascar.

Menabe Antimena (210,000 hectares), IUCN Category V is managed by Fanamby NGO and is one of Madagascar’s 144 protected areas. It is well known for its unique biodiversity, characterized by the existence of different types of natural ecosystems such as dry dense forests, lakes, and mangroves. These are vital for the conservation of endemic species that include the giant jumping rat Hypogeomys antimena (vositse), flat tailed tortoise Pyxis planicauda (Kapidolo), lemur communities, baobab trees, Cryptoprocta ferox (fosa), and migratory birds.

On top of an issue with illegal selective logging, Menabe has faced rapid deforestation hypothesised to be exacerbated by the migration of people from southern Madagascar. It is believed that migrants have fled from hard life conditions in the regions of Androy or Mahafaly to squat in the forest or settle in villages near the protected area. They then practise slash and burn agriculture in order to grow maize and peanuts. However, currently there is limited scientific evidence linking migration and deforestation in the area as well as a low level of awareness amongst local stakeholders regarding the links between these socio-economic and ecological challenges.

The project focuses on two main objectives:

    1. to unravel social-ecological complexities potentially linking poverty and deforestation in Menabe.
    2. to support the co-design of policy pathways with local stakeholders towards more effective and sustainable management of protected areas in the region.