Restoring Madagascar’s biodiversity
Madagascar’s rising concern over its rapid decline in biodiversity has received enormous response through growing efforts taken to restore the country’s vast ecosystem. As with many other African countries, understanding and responding to the conservation issues as well as involving local communities in conservation has been a great challenge to most Madagascar conservationists. TBA alumnus, Radosoa Andrianaivoarivelo Andoniaina is no stranger to this and has prided his work on the goal of ensuring Madagascar’s biodiversity is restored and protected.
As a scientific coordinator for Biodiversity Conservation Madagscar, Radosoa has been involved in numerous projects that have fostered biodiversity sustainability in various parts of Madagascar.
“The projects we are undertaking aim to find the trade-off between sustainable management of biodiversity and improved living standards of communities living at the expense of natural resources. This dependence occurs either through direct or indirect exploitation, including hunting or collection of forest products or benefits derived from the natural resources resulting in irreversible losses of biodiversity” Radosoa adds.
In advancing his efforts, Radosoa credits three key elements he gained from the TBA course he attended in 2004 that have so far impacted his work
“Other than key research and conservation skills, the TBA training course instilled three cornerstones that I employ to this day, that is leadership, influence and creativity. The leadership refers to the individual care of my own career where I developed the leadership skills that I have so far used to achieve my personal’s goals. Next, I use the power of influence and political skills to implement work strategies and tactics ensuring I move forward in my work with integrity. Finally, the course enhanced my creativity by showing me how to be open-minded through employing alternative research skills where necessary. This, I have used by adapting to different strategies for various scenarios which allow for immediate results”
With his organization, Radosoa has been involved in projects that have helped alleviate human-wildlife conflicts. This includes the erection of an electric fence in Beanka protected area on 1.6ha of cassava field to avoid predation by bush pig. Further, in the east of Madagascar, they set up a nursery to develop and plant fruit trees exclusively for frugivorous animals, especially fruit bats, which prevents the predation of lychee, an economically important plant in terms of revenue. Anti-predator hen houses have also been created and offered to communities living in the vicinity of dry forests in Western Madagascar to prevent attacks of poultry by the native carnivores. The poultry-meat constitutes the only protein resources of these communities.
“With these strategies, the communities no longer consider hunting the surrounding wild animals” says Radosoa