A biodiversity hotspot, Madagascar is the 4th largest island in the world and home to 5% of the planet’s plant and animal species, of which 80% are endemic. Although rich in natural assets, 77% of Malagasy households live in poverty. Madagascar has already lost 80% of its natural landscapes and continues to lose around 200,000 acres per year due to deforestation resulting from small scale “slash and burn” agriculture.
The Bongolava Forest Corridor (60 589 hectares in size) consists of two main management units: the core forest zone (43,516 ha) and the buffer zone (17,073 ha). There is considerable deforestation due to illegal timber logging, slash and burn agriculture, charcoal production and the collection of firewood and other forest-products. These activities threaten the natural balance in this eco-sensitive region. You can read more about the area and the work of our partner FBM in this very insightful arcticle.
Grounded values Madagascar’s unique biodiversity and is looking at ecological and socio-economic solutions to the deforestation problem. This is being done in partnership with local farmers. Together with FBM and the Malagasy NGO Tsimoka (which means “Sprout”) we have identified opportunities for a landscape-wide business case in the Bongolava Forest Corridor. Based on a dynamic agroforestry approach, we aim to find a combination of crops that have a positive influence on the ecosystem, that can be cultivated and processed by local farmers, and that will have real value in the marketplace.
As part of our feasibility study, we will also identify how we could find smart ways to collaborate with HERi Madagascar, a company that builds and supports solar businesses.
Grounded and FBM have selected seven communities in the sustainable production zone, in which we are currently developing relationships with several leading farmers. Together with Missouri Botanical Gardens and Tsimoka a broader assessment of the potential for agroforestry is being conducted.
We aim is to empower the farmers living around the forest (around 8,000 households) to generate sufficient additional income, so that they are not dependent the forest zone anymore, and can in fact help to protect the forest. By the end of 2018, we hope to have an investable business case ready.