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COMATSA communities restored 163 hectares of forests between September 2020 and April 2021

The COMATSA protected area is home to the Silky Sifaka, one of the world's rarest lemurs, endemic to the northern forests of Madagascar.

Its survival depends on the health of the high-altitude rainforests where it lives. And conversely, the Silky Sifaka also contributes to the restoration of the forests by dispersing seeds. The local communities around COMATSA also depend on these forests : they regulate the climate and water resources, and are a source of food, especially for the communities of Andapa and Bealanana.

Grouped in 20 community associations that form a green belt around COMATSA, the local communities work every day to preserve the 60,712 hectares of forest they manage. It is a daily and difficult effort, which requires a lot of courage in these mountainous regions where uncontrolled deforestation and illegal trafficking of wildlife are common, far from roads, telephone networks, electricity and internet. Between September 2020 and April 2021, the communities of Andapa and Bealanana carried out forest restoration actions by setting up reforested plots on an area of 163 hectares, the equivalent of 233 football fields. They have achieved this by their own means, through their community nurseries and with the support of WWF. "These community reforestations, together with natural forest regeneration, have restored a total of 401 hectares of forests in COMATSA between September 2020 and April 2021. Respectively, 163 hectares were restored by the community and 238 hectares regenerated naturally," says Andriantsitohaina Ranaivojaona of WWF.  "We advocate collaboration with local communities, our most important partners, as they are the custodians of our forests and our Silky Sifaka among other natural resources. This inclusive approach is the most effective way to preserve natural resources." he concludes.

In support of reforestation in the northern forests, communities apply 'Dina' or traditional and community-based regulation, as well as monitoring of offences to regulate the sustainable management of their resources.