Preserving forest resources with pride

Posted on 02 May 2012
The road of spiny plant: Tsimanapesotse landscape
The road of spiny plant: Tsimanapesotse landscape
© Ralf Baecker
In Madagascar, fuel wood covers 80% of the domestic energy use for cooking. Its low costs compared to other energy sources makes it attractive to the majority of the poor population; Mostly in the form of charcoal it provides over 85% of the energy needs of urban households. Thus fuel wood supply accounts for nearly 90% of wood levies on Malagasy forests.

Rapid forest destruction has been observed in South-West Madagascar due to uncontrolled exploitation to meet fuel wood needs. The annual consumption of Tulear’s 35.000 urban households is estimated at 325.000 tons of dry wood per annum which is equal to 23214 ha of forest surface every year.

To face the situation, addressing the fuel wood issue and mitigating its impacts on forest loss have been part of WWF MWIOPO’s challenges since 2008.

A workshop held in Tulear on December 19th, 2011, marked the effective beginning of the FAO-funded WWF project included in the ACP / FLEGT program which was entitled, "Regulation of the Wood Energy Sector in South-West Madagascar." The purpose of the workshop was to launch this new project which aims to contribute to the establishment of sustainable management of wood resources in the energy sector of southwest Madagascar.

This will be accomplished through the operationalisation and financial servicing of the regional regulation of wood energy in communes, on the outskirts axis N9 and N7. This one-day workshop in Tulear was co-organized with the Regional Department of Environment and Forests of the Atsimo Andrefana region.

The objective of the workshop was to inform all stakeholders about Wood Energy, the FAO-funded WWF project and to encourage stakeholders to take responsibility in its implementation. This was achieved during discussion at the workshop, which resulted in the dissemination of information about the project, which is now acknowledged on a large scale and by all stakeholders.

After many sessions of discussion and reflection, the active participation of local stakeholders have improved markedly, especially those of community leaders, charcoal makers, collectors/transporters as well as state institutions.

The activities in the wood energy sector, which before WWF’s intervention, lacked organization and a governing body, was a concern to these key actors. Several proposals for improvement for future interventions were also shared and discussed.

Given the economic and environmental impacts, stakeholders expressed interest and support for a successful and organized sector while preserving the wood resources of their lands. A sense of belonging and pride of their resources were sentiments that were felt throughout the workshop.

Apart from the Forestry Administration, the municipalities where WWF doesn’t work yet asked for generalization of the processes throughout the South West. Policymakers, both at central and regional levels are well aware of the need to implement actions for the sustainable management of forest resources for a sustainable supply of wood energy in Tulear.
The road of spiny plant: Tsimanapesotse landscape
The road of spiny plant: Tsimanapesotse landscape
© Ralf Baecker Enlarge
Charcoal transport near Toliara, Southwest Madagascar
© WWF MWIOPO / Martina Lippuner Enlarge
The technique of improved carbonization can produce twice as much charcoal than the traditional method, which reduces the amount of wood needed, to produce the same amount of charcoal, by half
© WWF MWIOPO Enlarge