Wednesday 30 April 1997

Sun-kissed sands and fisherfolk cracking coconuts at the edge of palm-fringed villages - this could very well be another day in Paradise! But the truth is that Madagascar's ecology is just living on the edge. The world's fourth largest island today has as much as 90 per cent of its tropical forest reduced by shifting agriculture to barren hills and scrubby vegetation.

Josephine Andrews, a primate researcher from Scotland, came to Nosy Be island - off the northwest coast of Madagascar - eight years ago, to study the black lemur. She runs the Black Forest Lemur Project from Ampangorinina, a village on Nosy Komba, an adjacent island. Recently, the government of Madagascar has expressed its desire to designate a 700-ha patch of virgin rainforest on Nosy Be as a national park, much to Andrews' chagrin. She insists that local people be involved in eco-tourism and conservation activities, since the villagers have little scope to extend their traditional subsistence agriculture."We want the national park only if local people are going to benefit," said Amisy Achimo of Maradoka village, Nosy Be. Andrews also pointed out rampant illegal felling of ebony trees in Madagascar.

Move from news to views and get in-depth reports on issues that matter to you, every fortnight.
Subscribe now »

We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

Scroll To Top