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Les mangroves : écosystème à conserver!

Every July 26, the world celebrates the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem. This day aims to raise awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems as a "unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem" and to promote solutions for their sustainable management, conservation and use.

This year we will celebrate the world day under the theme "Let's act together for the integrated and sustainable management of mangroves" or "Andao hiara-hihentana amin'ny fitantanana iombonana sy maharitra ny ala honko."
The mangroves of Madagascar represent 20% of the available mangroves in Africa and many Malagasy depend on them. In 2019, mangroves cover about 236,400 hectares of the Malagasy coastline. Nearly 236,400 ha of mangroves are listed in Madagascar (in 2018), distributed mainly in the regions Menabe, Melaky, Diana, Boeny, Atsimo Andrefana and Sofia.
In a few figures, the coastline of Madagascar has about 270,955 ha of mangroves in 2020 (Mapping Ocean Health-Global Mangroves Watch). It provides monetary and non-monetary benefits estimated at total economic values (TEV) of USD 82,627,833 per year with an average per hectare of about USD 578 per year (WWF, 2021).
Throughout Madagascar, civil society organizations, local communities, conservation organizations, and young people do not hesitate to mobilize and get involved in restoration and conservation activities of mangrove ecosystems through reforestation, community patrols, and awareness raising.

Our mangroves of Madagascar, a wealth to be conserved: 
Several aspects of well-being of local communities living in coastal areas, especially the populations of the west coast of Madagascar, depend on the mangrove ecosystem: to mention only the fishing of crabs and shrimps as a source of income, use of mangrove products (honey, mangrove species) for customs, use of mangrove wood for the construction of traditional houses. 
Also, given the importance of mangroves for fishing and its high capacity to store carbon, this ecosystem has an important contribution to the economic development of the country and to the achievement of its national and international commitments to the global objectives of sustainable development and the fight against climate change. Its conservation and sustainable management therefore deserves an appropriate strategy and funding at both the site and national levels. Local management plans exist at the level of managed areas but their implementation depends mainly on projects. Local mangrove management communities are currently aware of the need for sustainable financing to ensure the management of this natural capital, which is the mangrove ecosystem. 
For Dannick Randriamanantena from WWF, "it is ecosystems such as mangroves and coral reefs that make the west coast of Madagascar very productive. For our economy and the well-being of the Malagasy population, we have an interest in preserving these sources of life". 

Initiatives to save mangroves:
Local initiatives are beginning to develop: in the Ambaro zone in northwestern Madagascar, through community savings groups at the village level, communities have established a fund to help finance mangrove patrols and restorations and thus ensure the sustainability of these actions. In the Manambolo tsiribihina, the community organization managing the mangroves in Kivalo is developing ecotourism to enhance the value of the mangrove ecosystem it manages, generate employment and income for the communities and funds for mangrove conservation in their management area. 
Thus, since 2007, WWF has been supporting local communities to protect 50,000 hectares of mangroves in the Menabe, Melaky and Diana regions, through community-based management initiatives. 

A national celebration in Nosy Be. 
This year, the celebration of the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem will be jointly organized by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. Conservation and civil society organizations, as well as youth will also be present, including the association Famelona, Blue Ventures, Centre National de Recherches Océanographiques (CNRO), GIZ, KOBABY, Madagascar National Parks, Office Nationale pour l'Environnement, USAID Hay Tao, WCS, WWF. 
On the program, a reforestation will open the festivities on July 24. This will be followed by a festival, exhibition stands, presentation of strategic documents, development of regional action plan at the Allée Hell-Ville and the enclosure of the CNRO. The event will be closed on July 26 with scientific conferences and sharing of good practices. 

See you from July 24 to 26, 2022!