Rachel Kramer, MESc

2011 TRI Fellow in Madagascar

Perceived fairness of integrated conservation and development investments and habitat implications for a critically endangered lemur: A case study from northeastern Madagascar


This socio-economic study conducted in association with the Madagascar Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments and the lemur conservation organization, Simpona, surveyed four rainforest-bordering communities in Madagascar to evaluate impacts of to-date integrated conservation and development investments on local livelihoods and forest cover change bordering protected habitat for the critically endangered lemur, Propithecus candidus. 500 structured household surveys and five community leader consultations were documented in Tsimihety dialect with four Malagasy research assistants in villages bordering Marojejy National Park, to enhance understanding of variables affecting management of Park resources, including proximity to infrastructure, access to agricultural intensification options, and investment in ecotourism activities, and to represent local conservation attitudes. Surveying of 200 households in the remote western sector of the Park indicates shortages of arable land outside the Marojejy boundary has led shifting cultivators to reduce hillside fallow periods to 2-3 years, resulting in topsoil erosion and aridification post-agricultural transition. In contrast with 300 households surveyed at eastern study sites in the Park ecotourism zone, many western sector respondents reported food insecurity as a primary challenge in their community, petitioning for extension of Park forest lands for staple and cash crop production. This study reflects the exceptional success of Marojejy National Park’s ecotourism program, which has brought perceived direct economic benefit to households in the Park’s eastern sector, while documenting considerable tensions between underrepresented western sector communities and resource managers. Strategic development of markets, education, and local infrastructure are proposed to provide real incentives for conservation of remaining habitat for one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates (IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group).


Taboo in the Marojejy Massif: Characterization and Conservation Implications