New funding to save Protected Areas in Peril in Madagascar

Madagascar presents one of the greatest challenges for biodiversity conservation on Earth.

As one of the top ten poorest countries in the world (Global Finance 2024), Madagascar has the greatest concentration of biologically unique wildlife on earth.  Much like Hawaii and New Zealand islands, human colonization of Madagascar only occurred in the last two millennia. Since then, its spectacular wildlife and the majority of its forests have steadily disappeared.

Today, the 111 terrestrial Protected Areas in Madagascar cover 14.1% (20.5 million acres) of the country but, due to illegal activities, they have already lost more than half of their original forest cover as of 31 December 2023.  The surviving 9.6 million acres of primary forest inside Protected Areas represent just 6.6% of the country – an area equivalent to the size of Puerto Rico.  It is imperative to save these forests! 

They not only represent the last refuge for tens of thousands of endemic and at-risk species, but these forests are the best hope to ensure water resources for the country’s most important rice-growing regions (Madagascar eats more rice per person per day than nearly any other country).

…The stakes for threatened wildlife and impoverished human populations could not be higher!

As a small NGO working worldwide, Conservation Allies recognizes the priority and urgency in Madagascar. Over the last decade, we have grown our support and partnership here and focused our limited funding towards the Protected Areas with the highest deforestation rates.  Over the past 20 years, almost half (49) of the 111 PAs have experienced continuous deforestation that will likely result in total forest loss within 50 years if no additional interventions are taken to save these forests

Unlike some organizations with prescribed actions to fund, we listen to our local Malagasy partners and experts in what support is most needed to avoid deforestation and save the Protected Areas. Local conservation organizations seek the most support for their on-the-ground patrollers and law enforcement to provide safety for all.

In early April 2024, Conservation Allies requested proposals from 29 partners, mainly local Malagasy NGOs. These proposals were received and reviewed by mid-May. By late May, thanks to our supporters, we were able to wire grants totaling $745,376 directly to our partners in Madagascar to protect 39 reserves and parks encompassing 7.1 million acres of forest (over ⅓ of all Protected Area forests). This represents a further increase over 2023 funding thanks to our wonderful donors, whose generous support continues to rise every year since 2019.

We congratulate our partners for the magnificent work they do – we’re proud to support them as they continue their tremendous efforts toward saving Madagascar’s wonderful wildlife and people.