I am Herizo from Madagascar. I am a forest Engineer. I have worked for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust for the last 7 years, and I’m responsible for overseeing all ecological monitoring activities. In particular, I manage the participation of local communities and I work with local authorities, regional government services, and stakeholders to collect relevant data that allow us to regularly measure the level of biodiversity viability, and the pressures on our conservation targets. The ecological monitoring database that I manage help us to develop appropriate management plans for our sites of conservation importance (Ramsar sites and Protected Areas).
I am particularly interested in studying the habitat of the gentle lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis) which is locally endemic to the Alaotra wetlands and critically endangered. Alaotra is the biggest lake (200 km2) and largest marsh area (230 km2) in Madagascar. The gentle lemur is considered to be the only species of primate living exclusively in marshes and swamp vegetation. Despite considerable environmental education efforts to influence the local people, Hapalemur alaotrensis is seriously threatened by the annual burning of the marshes, overfishing and poaching. The annual scientific census over the last seven years shows that its population is declining; indeed its population size is estimated to be fewer than 4,000 individuals.
Secondly, I lead a monitoring project called MOMA (Monitoring Matters) that aims to compare the efficiency of biodiversity and pressures transect surveys with regular village patrols in Menabe dry forest. This protected area, located on the west coast of Madagascar, is classified as a site with high extinction risk, and is characterised by a very high rate of endemism but threatened by forest exploitation. The analysis of regular data collected using a range of methods will help to identify the most appropriate methods to detect environment changes resulting from the actions of the community.
And finally, in 2003 Madagascar decided to extend the protected area network to cover 10% of the country. I am also member of the Government GIS team (Durban Vision) which manages the Madagascar environmental database to prioritize sites, and to identify the top 10 to assign as strict conservation areas. However, the problem is that apart from the continuous loss of forest due especially to slash and burn, we now have huge new petroleum extraction projects on the west coast of Madagascar, mining exploitation (nickel and cobalt) in the east, and expansion of maize agriculture by Korean business interests.
My hopes with WildCRU are to learn new skills and enhance my ability to
1. help manage the anthropic pressures and mitigate the population decline of the Alaotra gentle lemur,
2. identify which method of monitoring is better to detect changes in developing countries, and
3. learn how to analyse data to make sure that the 10% of Madagascar that will be protected will include the best area for conservation.
“After undertaking the course, I feel more confident in research design, data analysis, and development of conservation strategies. I will definitely use my new skills to contribute in the mitigation of the biodiversity loss, especially in Madagascar.” 16th December 2009.
- To what extent can we rely on the village patrols data? A case study from the Menabe Protected Area, Madagascar
- An overview of the conservation status of the gentle lemur Hapalemur alatroensis in the Lake Alaotra protected area of Madagascar
Andrianandrasana, H., Randriamahefasoa, J., Durbin, J., Lewis, R. E., and Ratimbazafy, J. H. Participatory ecological monitoring of the Alaotra wetlands in Madagascar. Biodiversity and Conservation, 14, 2757-2774 DOI 10.1007/s10531-005-8413-y