As well as watching lemur babies, this week I finally had an opportunity to get involved with the reforestation branch of Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership.
Deforestation has resulted in the loss of approximately 90% of Madagascar’s original forests. As if this isn’t shocking enough, remember that about 90% of Madagascar’s wildlife is found in those forests and nowhere else, and you start to get a sense of the devastating consequences of this problem.
MBP workers are responsible for collecting seeds and soil, making compost, raising seedlings, and planting. Weirdly enough, it was discovered that seeds from lemur faeces grow better, and so by collecting seeds from Varecia poo they are ensuring that all the lemurs favourite food species are a focus for reforestation efforts.
There’s also special branch of the reforestation program called the Vehivavy Vonona Association which employs single mothers to help them support their families. Commercialised crops help give the community an additional source of income and discourage exploitation of the forest.
The wider community can get involved via the Conservation Credits Program, where members accumulate points for participating in planting events that can then be used to purchase things like solar panels and lights, bikes and cooking stoves. You can read more about MBP’s reforestation programs here.
I went to one of these events on Wednesday, as a part of the #SimusSays campaign. 12,000 trees were planted in just one day! I love the fact that in years to come an area barren from clearing will be full of native trees, including some I’ve planted myself!