Trees planted in Madagascar to date: 115,163

Mahajunga Reforestation Site

[titan_slider name=’Mahajunga Reforestation’ /] The reforestation project that we sponsor is situated 15 kilometers north of Mahajunga, along the west coast of Madagascar. The project will see the reforestation of both dry deciduous forest and mangrove systems.

Western Madagascar’s dry, deciduous forests are some of the world’s richest and most distinctive tropical dry forests and are characterised by very high local plant and animal specialisation to the environment. A significant portion of these forests have already been cleared, and the remaining forests are fragmented and critically threatened by uncontrolled burning and clearing for grazing and agriculture. Since human settlement of this region, an estimated 97 percent of the island’s dry deciduous western forests have been destroyed, and those remaining are extremely localized and isolated. While the diversity of species isn’t as high as in the moist eastern forests, the levels of specialisation to this specific deciduous dry tropical forest is higher. Mammals endemic to this region include the golden-crowned sifaka, mongoose lemur, western forest rat, golden-brown mouse lemur, northern rufous mouse lemur, western rufous mouse lemur, Perrier’s sifaka, Milne-Edwards’s sportive lemur, and a species of forest mouse. 1.

Madagascar’s mangrove swamps are mainly located on the more sheltered west coast. With the deforestation in Madagascar the mangroves and swamps help prevent river mud being washed into the sea and suffocating coral reefs. There are currently no protected mangrove areas and they are vulnerable to clearance for timber, urban expansion, agriculture, and industrial development. 2.

It is little known that mangrove trees are the best trees in the world at capturing carbon due to their capacity to sequester massive amounts of organic material in the soil.

Eden Reforestation Projects (ERP) project leaders have been very successful to date with their new dry deciduous effort in Madagascar. Steve Fitch, the founder says that they have experimented with germinating various native species in the region, and their is a good seed source nearby. Recently he called Jose and Jamie who are running the experimental nursery and learned the good news that out of their goal to germinate 35 different species of dry deciduous forest trees before moving onto the large scale effort, amazingly 30 out of 35 successfully germinated.  In past projects ERP have specialised in the reforestation of mangroves and will take their experience in reforesting this mixed mangrove and dry deciduous tropical forest area.

This is an exciting time for The Next Big Think to be part of and at the beginning of this new project in Madagascar. Over the coming months, we will be sure to update you through our blog with news of the reforestation effort.

1. Retrieved from 08/02/12
2. Retrieved from 08/02/12