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Steven Goodman, hero of Madagascar's biodiversity

​Steven Goodman is a MacArthur Field Biologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and Vice-President of the Vahatra association in Madagascar.

As Madagascar specialist, he has dedicated almost 30 years of his life to study the biodiversity, and more specifically the fauna of Madagascar. A true enthusiast and avid explorer, he confides: « I am in a Victorian naturalist perspective. This means that I like to go out and meet the unknown, to discover and try to understand community structure and ecological variations ». It's always a pleasure to discover things about Madagascar that are still largely unknown. During his years of research, he published a number of scientific works, including: “L'histoire naturelle de Madagascar”, published in 2003, then revised and renamed 20 years later: “La nouvelle histoire naturelle de Madagascar”, with contributions from over 600 world-renowned experts, more than a third of whom were Malagasy. These writings, the fruit of several decades of biological exploration of Madagascar, are evidence of the growing number of young Malagasy researchers being trained. This pool of researchers and scientists took root in the 90s through the Ecology Training Program (ETP), initiated by WWF and later led by the Vahatra association, co-founded by Goodman. Over 500 Malagasy students have since been trained. “As a teacher-researcher, I particularly enjoy watching students work on their research and guiding them. For young people who want to do research, start by getting your high school diploma, and then decide which direction you want to take. For years, we've been working to create generations of Malagasy researchers, and every year for the past thirty years, field schools have been held for Master's students to help them advance their studies”.
I've been in Madagascar for over 40 years, and it's wonderful to receive such recognition. It all began with WWF Madagascar, which was behind the Ecology Training Program, the starting point for all this”. He was one of the pioneers who worked alongside WWF to forge and perpetuate this generation of biodiversity heroes.
Steven Goodman was awarded hero of biodiversity prize by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development on May 31, 2024.