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"Green" coal to combat deforestation

In the village of Angodorofo, Ambilobe district, the charcoal makers' association produces green charcoal to reduce pressure on mangroves

One of the alternatives to the cutting of mangrove wood is the plantation of wood for energy purposes. As part of the promotion of sustainable mangrove management by communities, WWF with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation in Germany (BMZ), has supported 5 local community organizations (Anjiabe, Antsatrana, Ampasivelona, Angodorofo, Ambohibory) since 2018.

A total of 210 charcoal makers from Ambaro Bay from the 5 villages were trained to master the most sustainable technique for charcoal production: what is the best possible charcoal making technique, how to increase charcoal production while reducing the amount of wood needed, and minimize the risk of bushfires.
Between 2017 and 2022, the communities in these villages reforested a total of 177 hectares of acacia and eucalyptus trees for charcoal. They are processing the wood from these plantations using the improved carbonization technique they learned, and have decided to call the resulting product "green charcoal." Green charcoal because it comes from plantations for wood energy production, thus preserving the mangrove forests, and produced in a way that is improved in quality and quantity and therefore constitutes a better alternative for the needs of cooking wood in the mangroves...

"This training was necessary not only to enhance the value of the exotic plantations already in place, but also to increase the supply of charcoal available in a legal channel. Thus, the yield of charcoal obtained in relation to the volume of wood introduced is increased to nearly 15%, that is to say 15 tons of charcoal for 100 tons of wood," says Heritiana Rakotomalala of WWF. The pressure on mangroves that were previously used exclusively for charcoal production has largely decreased.

For the village of Angodorofo, twenty people have planted 5 hectares of eucalyptus and acacia trees for the production of green charcoal. These people have attended the 2018 training and have structured themselves into an association. Petera, 65, who is president of the association, says, "We keep encouraging the community not to exploit natural forests but to convert to reforestation for wood energy."

Supported by the German cooperation agency (GIZ), the charcoal makers now have a sales outlet to market their green charcoal.