Land Cover Change in Relation to Agricultural Extensification in Southern Madagascar

By Hermann Andriamanambina and Michael Simsik.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Madagascar is one of the richest areas of biological diversity on Earth. While this biodiversity is threatened by a number of factors, a major concern is deforestation. Not only does deforestation destroy rare and endangered species and their habitat, but it also threatens the agrarian livelihoods of rural people. A major cause of deforestation is the extension of existing agricultural activities into adjacent forested areas. The objectives of this research are to determine deforestation rates and to identify remaining forested areas that might attract farmers to extend their cultivated areas in the vicinity of Andohahela National Park in the Anosy Region of southeastern Madagascar, and to examine the correlates of deforestation, in particular linkages to agricultural extensification and land use policies. Given that most Malagasy farmers cultivate rice as a primary source of food, there is a need for identifying agroecological zones where rice cultivation and forest conservation may coexist. Satellite imagery, secondary geographic information systems (GIS) layers and georeferenced primary field data collected in the area are used in this analysis. This research seeks to contribute to current national efforts in Madagascar to protect the environment while promoting sustainable development for rural communities.

Keywords: Agricultural Extensification, Madagascar, GIS, Deforestation

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.285-308. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.389MB).

Hermann Andriamanambina

Consultant, ATEF, Fort Dauphin, Fort Dauphin, Madagascar

Mr. Andriamanambina is a Natural Resource and Information Management Specialist with ten years experience. From 1998-2003 Mr. Andriamanambina served as the Information Management Specialist with a non-governmental organization (NGO) in southeastern Madagascar, where he worked primarily on the development of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Since then, he has completed a master’s degree in Natural Resource Management from Cornell University, focusing on the impacts of biodiversity conservation on rural livelihoods in Madagascar. His master’s research utilized GIS to prioritize areas for biodiversity conservation and agricultural production in the Anosy Region of southeastern Madagascar. Mr. Andriamanambina’s previous experiences using GIS to help conserve the dry forest of southern Madagascar has provided him with the skills necessary to contribute to the development of a conservation plan for the Fort Dauphin Region. He is interested in managing projects facilitating regional development and conservation. Currently, Mr. Andriamanambina is managing a project funded by the International Union for the Conservation (IUCN) Netherlands Ecosystem Grants Programme. The project focuses on the use of geospatial tools to build local capacity for natural resource management in the district of Fort Dauphin in southeastern Madagascar. Previous to working on environmental issues, Mr. Andriamanambina spent four years working as an Information Systems Supervisor with a rural development bank in southern Madagascar. Mr. Andriamanambina has also established “Enterprise Fanovo,” a socially conscious company focusing on the construction and rehabilitation of housing, roads, and other infrastructure in southeastern Madagascar, while creating jobs for the local community. Mr. Andriamanambina is experienced in the organization and delivery of training programs, workshops, and conferences, and is able to communicate fluently in English, French, and in his native Malagasy language.

Dr. Michael Simsik

Country Director, Executive, U.S. Peace Corps, Bamako, Mali

Dr. Simsik is an Environmental Education and Natural Resource Management Specialist with 20 years of experience. Particularly relevant is his current work as the Country Director for the U.S. Peace Corps in Mali as well as previous work as an Associate Director for Peace Corps in Madagascar and as an agricultural program leader for Cornell University Cooperative Extension. Dr. Simsik also has experience working as a technical advisor and trainer to international development and conservation organizations overseas. From 1994-1996 Dr. Simsik served as the technical advisor to an integrated conservation and development project managed by the World Wildlife Fund in Southeastern Madagascar. Since then, he has completed a doctoral dissertation focusing on the role of biodiversity conservation and livelihood issues in Madagascar. His doctoral dissertation field research assisted a local non-governmental organization in their efforts to outline a plan for rural development and conservation in their district. Previous to working in Madagascar, Dr. Simsik spent several years working as an environmental educator of Peace Corps volunteers in Africa and before that, as a forestry extension educator in Benin, West Africa, where he collaborated closely with host-country counterparts both in the Ministry of Agriculture as well as in the community where he lived and worked.

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