This year has been an extremely difficult one for all of us. However, as an unprecedented global catastrophe unfolded, we’ve been heartened at PTES to hear how our teams on the ground and around the globe have been adapting and overcoming challenges. Zac Hill, from SEED Madagascar, recently got in touch, proud to tell us all the Ala team has achieved this year. With funds from PTES, SEED’s Project Ala aims to plant up to four forest corridors, connecting isolated patches of littoral forest, to increase safe havens for several species of lemur, as well as all the other animals that live there.
Conservation under lockdown
Despite Covid-19 setbacks, which meant that large group activities had to be cancelled, planting of seedlings has continued well and they are on track to connect five forest patches with dense corridors. The Ala team is also establishing management protocols to ensure these areas are secure in the long-term, and engaging the local community – landowners, school children and herders – so that the forest, and the wildlife that depends on it, have a brighter future.
Project Ala is helping not only wildlife, but local communities too
One critical function the project has provided in this year of uncertainty has been security for the local community. Lobster fishing and mahampy reed weaving became much less viable as access and reduced market prices took their toll. Luckily the project was able to step in and train national staff and local guides to undertake the all-important data collection and biodiversity monitoring.
Meanwhile landowners and other locals earned money clearing land for firebreaks, digging holes, transporting seedlings from the nursery and helping to plant them. Not only was this valuable revenue in times of such uncertainty but it means the people have a vested interest in the success of the project now – it belongs to them. In the coming months the aim is to carry out the larger community meetings and education days and then to ratify local law to protect the corridors and firebreaks. Working on all these fronts will ensure that Madagascar’s lemurs and the local community have a chance not just of surviving, but thriving.
Learn more about how we’re working to reconnect the Sainte Luce Littoral Forest and provide valuable habitats for lemurs in Madagascar: