Mangrove Conservation in Madagascar: A Vulnerability Assessment

Mapping of Community-based Climate Change Adaptation Initiatives/Projects in Africa

MADAGASCAR (02)

1. Title of your Project

Mangrove Conservation in Madagascar: A Vulnerability Assessment

2. Name of organisation

Implemented by: WWF Madagascar and Western Indian Ocean Programme Officer (WWF MWIOPO)
Financed by: MacArthur Foundation

3. Location of project

Community: Nosy Hara, Diana Region
Country: Madagascar

4. Project duration

Project started: June 2009
Project finished (if applicable): n/a

5. Contact information

Name of contact person: Alison Clausen
Name of organisation:     WWf MWIOPO
Detailed address:           BP 738 Antananarivo
Phone:                          (+261) 034 49 888 05
e-Mail:                          aclausen@wwf.mg
Website:                       http://madagascar.panda.org/

Website of your project (if different): n/a

6. Summary of practice

The overall project goal is to build the key knowledge about coral and mangrove systems in Madagascar, develop effective approaches for building resilience in these systems and to work with the Malagasy government to incorporate that knowledge into conservation planning.

The project specific objectives are to:

• Gain an understanding of the historic and existing biodiversity characteristics of mangroves of this region by conducting a structural inventory and natural regeneration assessments to determine the status of these mangroves and cover change over time.

• Gain an understanding of the value of and dependency of local people on mangroves and also any perceptions of local people to climate change by conducting qualitative socio-economic assessments.

• Assess the vulnerability and potential resiliency of the Tsiribihina and Manambolo mangroves using results of surveys and the WWF climate witness approach through joint consultative sessions with local stakeholders.

• Produce mapping of the studied mangroves to indicate their vulnerability and to support the identification of key resilient areas and restoration zones.

7. Context/Approach description

The mangrove ecosystems in this zone have a critical importance for numerous endemic species that are listed as threatened on the IUCN Red List. These include the avian species which use the mangroves for nesting and roosting: Bernier’s Teal (Anas bernieri) listed as Endangered; Madagascar Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides) listed as Critically Endangered; Humblot’s Heron (Ardea humbloti) listed as Endangered; and Malagasy Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis bernieri) listed as Endangered. The mangrove ecosystems also provide important habitat for the frugivore bat species, the Madagascar Fruit Bat (Pteropus rufus), which is listed as Vulnerable and subject to high hunting pressures.  The mangrove ecosystems also have important ecological functions including as a production site for aquatic resources such as crabs, shrimps and fish, coastal protection functions and water purification.

From a social point of view, the project zone is traditionally home to the Sakalava and Vezo ethnic groups. However in recent years immigration to the area has become more pronounced and has resulted in overexploitation of fisheries and mangrove resources and increased clearing of mangroves for rice production.  The literacy rate of the local population is low and access to health and education services is very limited. The population relies traditionally on fishing and agriculture (rice) activities and uses mangrove resources for house construction, fuelwood and traditional medicines. The study will assist in the identification of zones of high vulnerability to allow targeted adaptation strategies to be implemented to protect livelihoods and ecosystems against climate change.

8. Community involvement           

Community involvement has been through application of WWF’s Climate Witness approach, a participatory assessment tool that increases awareness of climate change issues and develops locally specific climate change adaptation strategies with local communities.

9. Results & Lessons learned

9.1  Results

The preliminary results of the vulnerability assessment currently being undertaken in the project zone indicate that flooding from sea level rise and reduction in precipitation are likely to be the most significant manifestations of climate change for the local community. Both of the primary sources of revenue – fishing and agriculture – are highly vulnerable to climate change. Evidence indicates that increased use of natural resources, including those found in mangrove ecosystems, is a likely adaptive response of local communities to increased pressures on their traditional sources of livelihood.

9. 2 Critical Success Factors

The project’s success is based on the fact that the project focused on the development and application of a locally specific methodology that built on best available science but that took into account resource and capacity constraints and the available background data.

9.3. Transferability 

A key aim of the project is to develop a locally specific methodology for assessing the vulnerability of mangrove ecosystems and local communities to climate change. WWF MWIOPO plans to implement the methodology in the north-west of the country and disseminate it for use in other countries in the African region.