Conservation action, training and research in the Androy Region of southern Madagascar
The Androy region of central and southern Madagascar is home to the Antandroy people and consists of a wealth of endemic and threatened wildlife. The region, which has been identified as a global biodiversity conservation priority, is characterized by dry forest commonly termed spiny forest. The remaining forest is under immense pressure from unsustainable natural resource use by a growing human population. Considering the limited capacity of Malagasy governmental agencies for forest protection and management of unprotected forest, as well as increasing pressures, it is apparent that the region is in need of a holistic management approach to ensure sufficient forest remains to sustain future generations. A project previously supported by BPCP, the Tandroy Conservation Trust (TCT) has been working in the region since 1998, and has developed research, education and development interventions to tackle some of the most pertinent conservation issues in Androy. The research teams, composed of students and researchers from four UK and four Malagasy institutions will play a vital role in training students from southern Madagascar, who constitute the future of ecological research in this deprived region. They will also catalogue regional patterns of biodiversity distribution and investigate the effects of forest fragmentation and human disturbance on the bird and mammal fauna. Education projects will be strengthened through appraisal, refinement and further distribution of resources through the development of a vision for initiatives incorporating adult literacy and traditional visual arts. The project will also include regional conservation planning, the development of sustainable income generating initiatives, and the development of community-based ecotourism.