Madagascar: Young farmers adopt new methods to help lemurs, forests and themselves

Madagascar: Young farmers adopt new methods to help lemurs, forests and themselves

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar — To the detriment of the forests surrounding his village, Safidiharinjaka Emmanuel Tolojanahary knew only traditional farming methods. Like most residents of his village, located in eastern Madagascar, he cleared forest and burned what remained of the felled trees to open up a plot to grow rice. Locals call this slash-and-burn technique tavy. In September 2019, when Tolojanahary was 23 years old, his desire to be more responsible for a better future and to learn new techniques pushed him to join a project that taught alternative agricultural methods with the aim of protecting the forests. Today he is the head of one of 16 groups of rural young people from the municipality of Lakato, in the Moramanga district of the Alaotra-Mangoro region, whom the Madagascan NGO Madagasikara Voakajy is training. His group, in the village of Ambodivarongy, is called Vintsiala, the vernacular name of the Madagascan pygmy kingfisher (Corythornis madagascariensis). The orange-and-white birds with outsized beaks live in the neighboring forest. Tolojanahary and his team consider themselves ambassadors for the farming methods they have learned. “In my group, we want to unite those who live with us around our cause,” he said. A vintsiala, or Madagascan kingfisher (Corythornis madagascariensis). Image by Frank Vassen via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0). People’s subsistence needs are among the pressures weighing on Madagascan forests and on the extraordinary fauna that live in them. Protecting the forests therefore requires the participation of these populations. Confronted with the degradation of the Mangabe-Ranomena-Sahasarotra reserve, Madagasikara…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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