We are working to protect the unique and threatened Spiny Forest through a reforestation programme
Southwest Madagascar is home to the biodiverse Spiny Forest, one of the world’s most unique habitats. Extending across southwest Madagascar, the 17,000 square miles of forest (or spiny thicket) contains a wide variety of desert plants including the namesake spiny Dideraceae trees and majestic baobabs. This habitat supports many animals including regionally endemic lemurs and tortoises. It is considered a globally distinct ecoregion owing to its high rate of endemism; 95% of its plant species are unique to this area with many showing extreme and usual adaptations to the harsh, semi-arid environment.
However, the Spiny Forest is also one of the world’s most endangered habitats. It is disappearing at an alarming rate due to charcoal consumption, wildfires, and agriculture (shifting cultivation known as ‘slash and burn’). Action must be taken to reverse the decline of this rare and understudied habitat, before its too late.
This concerning time lapse video of Google maps highlights the progressive loss of the Spiny Forest over the last 30 years
In 2016, we decided to do something about the alarming loss of Spiny Forest in our region. First, to address the main cause of deforestation in the region, we have implemented a sustainable charcoal project in the form of a tree plantation. The aim of this initiative is to relieve the pressure on the Spiny Forest whilst providing an alternative livelihood for impoverished inland communities. Read more here. Our longer-term goals are to establish a protected forest area and ultimately implement an indigenous species reforestation programme to restore this incredible forest.
Stay tuned for further updates to this exciting new project!