Better Lives for the People of the Forest Corridor

Better Lives for People of the Forest Corridor is a joint project with two organisations, EDENA (Education, Developpment, Environment Naturel) and Ny Tanintsika, in Madagascar. The project will work within local communities to reduce pressure on the natural forest, reducing food insecurity, promoting the use of trees in farming systems, and improving forest management practice. This project is funded by Guernsey Overseas Aid.

Tackling the causes of harm to the forest

50% of Madagascar’s population live in poverty, and rural populations are highly dependent on land use for their livelihood. The need for resources such as firewood and timber, and the production of charcoal for sale, are among the major causes for continuing deforestation and over-exploitation in Madagascar’s remaining forest corridor. Madagascar is a globally important site of biodiversity, with 9,500 vascular plant species of which 68% are endemic and 1036 vertebrate species of which 72% are endemic and 15% endangered. In order to protect the forest biome and its wildlife, there is a need for local communities to be educated, to be engaged in conservation efforts and to be able to meet their own needs without being dependent on the forest.

The Better Lives project will aim to:

  • Increase food production for household use and for markets, through training in improved rice cultivation and market gardening
  • Promote a widespread understanding of agroforestry, the integration of useful tree species into farming systems
  • Establish tree nurseries and engage the community in maintaining restored forest areas, planting trees for restoration and protecting the forest

Involving all the community

The project will engage six villages in the Anozorobe-Angavo and Iladitra-Ambondro areas of Madagascar. Households will be trained in improved rice production, reducing their dependence on inorganic fertilisers and pesticides while improving yields. Women and girls will be trained in market gardening and supplied with starter seeds for good crop diversity. The training will include seed selection and storage to enable them to keep growing in subsequent years.

Through video projections, talks and practical demonstrations, farmers from these communities will learn about the benefits of agroforestry, with 340 receiving in-depth training. Community groups will set up six demonstration sites, and local schools will set up their own tree nurseries and fruit tree/ agroforestry demonstration sites, engaging over 1,000 children in environmental education and practical tree planting.

The project will run for 12 months, during which time EDENA and Ny Tanintsika shall:

  • Train 220 households to improve rice cultivation methods for better yields.
  • Offer training and supplies for 170 women to practice market gardening and seed saving
  • Raise awareness of agroforestry for 840 farmers, and directly train and support 340 farmers to start practicing agroforestry.
  • Support schools to engage 920 children in school tree nurseries and planting
  • Help communities plant 6,000 native trees and run 3 forest monitoring groups.

Long-term benefits

Beyond the end of the project, food security will be improved for the beneficiaries. Greater productivity of rice fields will continue and women market gardeners will be able to supplement their income with sales of garden produce.

Integrating agroforestry into farms will have long-term health and economic benefits for households, improving incomes and providing food and resources, while reducing the pressure on the native forest and allowing its continued protection.

An EDENA volunteer carrying seedlings
Ny Tanintsika tree nursery volunteers
Volunteers carrying seedlings to a planting site (Ny Tanintskia)
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