Review of the protected areas of Madagascar

IMG_0178 - CopieIn 1989, Martin Nicoll and Olivier Langrand published a book entitled “Madagascar: Revue de la conservation et des aires protégées” (WWF, Gland), an important landmark in the early recent development of Madagascar’s protected area. In a clear and succinct manner, these authors presented compiled information, including vertebrate species lists, available at that time for each site, and important sections on the future strategies to conserve the remaining natural habitats of the island.  Since then, that is to say over slightly less than three decades, the biological exploration of the remaining forests of the island has advanced considerably, changes have taken place in our knowledge of the fauna and the flora, including the description of several thousand new species to science, and many new protected areas have been established.  As is the nature with such syntheses and a sign of advancement, the Nicoll and Langrand book is now out of date and in need of revision.

DSC_0141_rvbWith a grant from CEPF, Association Vahatra in collaboration with the “Fondation pour les Aires Protégées et la Biodiversité de Madagascar” (FAPM) and numerous other organizations, including Madagascar National Parks, has undertaken a project to revise and expand the Nicoll & Langrand book. This three-year project involves many different facets, including a tabulation of the recognized terrestrial protected areas as of mid-May 2015; scanning and organizing what is estimated will be 60,000-80,000 documents concerning the biota occurring at these sites and associated legal documents to be posted for free access on the FAPM website; a large-scale review and updating of a database of the vertebrates and plants of each site; systematic reviews of the different groups to be covered in the project; biological inventories of poorly known sites; and numerous other activities. A bilingual (French-English) book, that will present numerous details on each protected area, as well as other aspects, is planned to be released in the latter portion of 2018 and co-published by Association Vahatra and The University of Chicago Press; an e-book version will also be released that should help advance ecotourism. Further, considerable data and information will also be posted on the FAPM website.

Steve Goodman
Field Museum of Natural History
Association VAHATRA