Madagascar's protected areas are vulnerable to climate change. | WWF

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Madagascar's protected areas are vulnerable to climate change.

Climate change is a global reality that directly and indirectly affects Malagasy protected areas.

Natural risks linked to climate change (drought, strong winds, reduced rainfall) threaten the fauna and flora living in protected areas. WWF has released a report that notes the "Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change of Madagascar's terrestrial protected areas". The report targeted 72 of Madagascar's 122 terrestrial protected areas, or 63% of them.

The vulnerability of a protected area to climate change is determined by scientists by calculating the loss of biodiversity due to the potential impacts of climate change, and by the adaptive capacity of the protected area.  The report concludes that 53% of terrestrial and mixed protected areas are highly vulnerable to climate change and 47% are vulnerable.

The potential effects of climate change such as more intense and more frequent cyclones or recurrent droughts change the appearance of forests, and then cause habitat alteration or even destruction of forests that will surely lead to a loss of species.  These habitat alterations directly affect 750 species of fauna in Madagascar, more than 90% of which are distributed in the 72 protected areas of this study.
 
Confronted with climate change, if the protected area is not resilient enough, its capacity to provide goods and services to the population is also compromised. The natural ecosystems within a protected area are a source of water, food and raw materials. When these ecosystems disappear, the consequences directly impact the people who depend on them, but they will also tend to put more pressure on the protected area and overexploit its resources.

In its report, which is available in PDF format here, WWF proposes 9 recommendations to enable adaptation to climate change of ecosystems, species and riverine populations to protected areas.  According to these recommendations, the management and conservation of protected areas must be strengthened to reduce intrusion and poaching. There is also a need to allow species to move from one protected area to another. This network of corridors would limit forest fragmentation and facilitate the migration of species in the event of habitat destruction. Recommendations in the report focus on green tourism, so that the value of protected areas can generate income for its managers and improve conservation. Integrate biodiversity into sectorial governance policies to improve environmental standards and achieve sustainable interventions.  The report also recommends investing in sustainable economic channels and sources of income for people to reduce their dependence on biodiversity in protected areas.
 
As a reminder, Madagascar has formulated its determined national contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change within the framework of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Our country's objective is to reduce emissions by 14% and increase the capacity of our forests to absorb carbon by 32% by 2030. This objective can only be achieved by drastically reducing deforestation, because we know that healthy forests are natural solutions to reduce the impacts of climate change.