The poverty of many farmers and the resulting struggle for survival often forces locals to damage the forest and natural resources. Be it by slash-and-burn to obtain more fertile agricultural land or by deforestation to cook and heat with wood or charcoal. The result: a permanent exodus of the last remaining forests. In the meantime, only about 10% of the original forest cover remains on Madagascar.
The highland rainforest of Ankafobe
One of these last remnants of forest in Madagascar can be found in Ankafobe. The rainforest is located in the highlands at an altitude of about 1,200 m and is one of the rarest forest types in Madagascar. It has therefore been declared a protected area. Today, only a few small fragments of this forest remain: of the 133 hectares of protected area, only 33 are still forested. However, these remnants of the forest contain a flora and fauna that are extremely worthy of protection and rich in species, including a number of endemic species. For example, four species of lemurs and 35 species of birds still live in the forest remnants, and more than 200 different tree species grow there. By comparison, there are only 90 different tree species in Germany.
But the species-rich remnants of the highland rainforest of Ankafobe are also threatened, especially by fire: on the one hand, the wood from the trees is also used here for daily cooking, and on the other hand, the Malagasy burn their agricultural land after the dry season in winter to prepare it for the next season. There is always the danger that the fire could spread to the rainforest.
If the forest disappears, another of Madagascar's problems becomes apparent: erosion. Large parts of formerly fertile soil are simply washed away by the lack of plant cover and heavy rainfall. Without support, there are no future prospects here - neither for the plants and animals nor for the people.
In order to protect the remaining forest and support the local people, Naturefund's work primarily consists of reforestation of the forest that has been degraded by historical forest fires. Seedlings of the 200 local tree species are raised in an on-site tree nursery. So far, about 5,000 plants have been raised each year for the restoration of the rainforest remnants. Now, with our local partner Missouri Botancial Garden, we want to increase the number to 20,000 seedlings per year. These seedlings will then be planted around the forest so that it can grow a bit each year - a growth to 37 hectares, that's our goal for 2021.
Another pillar of rainforest protection is Dynamic Agroforestry: only through sustainable cultivation with trees around the protected area and a better income for the people can the permanent protection of the forest in Madagascar be ensured. Thirty pilot farmers are currently testing the DAF method in personal plots around the protected area. They are supported by five young people whom we train and who can later pass on this form of cultivation as DAF trainers.
Together, these 30 new DAF plots already cover an area of 4.4 hectares. Since the use of Dynamic Agroforestry is associated with great success, we want to further expand our activities. That means helping even more farmers convert their farmland to Dynamic Agroforestry, planting trees and thus preserving Ankafobe's unique flora and fauna.
Help us to preserve Madagascar's unique highland rainforest! For 6 € you can plant a tree and support people, animals and plants.