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p4ges - Can Paying 4 Global Ecosystem Services reduce poverty?

Our Case Study

Madagascar flag

Madagascar is materially extremely poor (per capita income is just $824 per annum and 68% of people live on less than $1.25 a day). Efforts to incentivize reforestation and forest conservation are a significant, and increasing, driver of change in the country.

We focus on Madagascar’s eastern rainforests which run the 1600 km length of the country. People living on the forest frontier are particular poor, even in the Malagasy context, and tend to be marginalised politically due to the challenging geography. Eight million people live in the eight regions across which the eastern rainforests extend. The area’s exceptional biodiversity and importance for carbon storage is the reason the majority of the country’s REDD+ pilot projects are concentrated here; justifying our own geographic focus.

Our field work will focus on the Corridor Ankeniheny-Zahamena (‘CAZ’), a 425,000ha area of rainforest along the eastern escarpment of Madagascar. CAZ is a proposed new protected area (with provisionally protected status) which follows a new model for Madagascar: it is co-managed by an overall manager (currently Conservation International, CI) and community associations (currently 50). At the southern extent of CAZ is a large reforestation program known as TAMS (Tetik’asa Mapody Savoka’) which planted more than a million trees between 2006 and 2010.

While Madagascar is the focus of the work, the project is designed so that results are applicable in other low income countries. The main farming system (subsistence swidden agriculture) and tenure (de jure state ownership of forests but de facto customary and community tenure) is common in many countries where payment schemes are being piloted or have been proposed.