© CI/Photo by Sterling Zumbrunn
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The Makira Forest is a thick green security blanket for Madagascar's troubled eastern half, which has otherwise been nearly stripped of trees. Less than 10 percent of the original forest cover still stands today.
Small-scale agriculture is the biggest concern. Farmers cultivate hillside rice by burning down trees and irrigating with rainfall. Over time, this traditional practice exhausts the soil, increases erosion, and contaminates water supplies.
As part of the Makira Forest project, Conservation International is working with the Madagascar government and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to train farmers in ways to produce plentiful harvests from the same plot of land instead of cutting down trees to develop new fields every few years. Not only does this improve yields, it saves forests and the unique wildlife they shelter. This project will reduce deforestation across Makira's 350,000 hectares.
CO2 emissions are being avoided through forest protection activities of the Makira Forest Project. Investors benefiting from emissions avoidance through the project include Mitsubishi Group, NAVTEQ and the music band Pearl Jam.
Local communities will be able to better control and manage their natural resources. This project will help facilitate contracts that would transfer more management rights from the government to the local people. Besides improving cultivation, this project also offers training in irrigation for lowland rice field and has the potential to bring new jobs and ecotourism to the area.
Biological Diversity Benefits
Madagascar, prized for its astounding wildlife diversity, is a top priority for primate conservation. By reconnecting forest fragments, this project will maintain the island's largest contiguous eastern forest – critical habitat for threatened species.
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