Environment & Development Program

Projet TAPIA | Preservation of the tapia forest, wild silk and beekeeping in Madagascar.

Restore the ecosystem through the reforestation of tapia, an endemic tree severely impacted by human actions.

Projet TAPIA | Preservation of the tapia forest, wild silk and beekeeping in Madagascar.

Context

In Madagascar the Itasy region has an area of 7 000 km2, of which only less than 3% would now be covered by afforestation. The tapia forest (endemic tree), which is one of the remarkable ecosystems of the Great Island, plays a key ecological role: preservation of water sources, stabilization of watersheds, protection of soils against erosion and maintenance of their fertility, and abundant biodiversity. It provides resources on which local communities depend heavily. In particular the wild silkworm, an endemic species, the landibe, feeds mainly on tapia leaves, this tree thus constituting its main habitat. It forms wild silk cocoons that are traditionally used to make textile handicrafts (clothing, scarves, shrouds, festive clothes, etc.)

The target population of the project is mainly members of several VOIs (vondron’olona ifotony in Malagasy, literally “basic community organisation”) from the Arivonimamo municipality, situated in the district of Arivonimamo in the Itasy region. These VOIs are in charge of the management of the tapia forest.

The Malagasy state has indeed transferred to them the management of the natural resources they exploit (due to the lack of human and material resources of the forest administration), in order to empower them and ensure the sustainability of these resources. Unfortunately, the adopted approach is limited by the fact the VOIs also lack the means to sustainably manage these forests (material means, and unbalanced balance of power in favour of people or structures exploiting or wanting to exploit resources managed by VOI non rationally).

The tapia forest is massively deforested and exploited.

Pressures on the one hand include excessive collection of silkworm nymphs (in particular larger female nymphs, which threatens all the more extinction of the species) for sale and self-consumption, encouraged by the persistence of a high level of poverty locally.

There is also a development of invasive species within the tapia forests and therefore the colonisation of space by pine at the expense of tapia.

In addition, the area now lacks firewood and lumber in a context of population growth correlated with extreme poverty (low agricultural and livestock productivity in general, few alternative jobs available, low silling prices of agricultural products).

In the Itasy region, the means of production and consumption in firewood are translated by the growing exploitation of natural resource, thus affecting the climate, the biological diversity, the natural balances and the daily lives of the populations. Planète Urgence intervenes for the protection of biodiversity and the fight against poverty.

Goal

Reinforce the capacities of basic community organisation (VOIs) responsible for the tapia forests in multiple municipalities in the Itasy region in order to protect the ecosystem, improve their means to exist and increase their resilience.

Activities

Three principal axes: restoration of the tapia ecosystem, support local development via the economic sector (wild silkworm, beekeeping, gardening) and finally the environmental awareness to preserve these ecosystems and to climate change. 

 

Environnement Planète UrgenceEcosystem restoration: planting tapia plants, wood-energy (and honey) as well as fruit trees.

 

 

Développement économique Planète UrgenceLocal economic development: support for the growth of the wild silkworm population and promote beekeeping. 

 

 

Sensibilisation à l'environnement Planète UrgenceAwareness:  in the region’s schools, some exchange workshops are organized, just like their gardening equipment and radio spots. 

 

 

Appui gestion durable Planète UrgenceSupport for sustainable territorial management: consultation of the members of VOIs and implementation of development plans to sustainably manage these natural resources. (4 identifies pilot sites)

Expected impact

Tapia is thus massively cut for firewood and charcoal production, which has been more than 25 years the main fuel for households in the capital, one of whose supply basins in the Itasy region, bordering Arivonimamo. To this situation adds up the clearing for food crops and the gradual elimination of tapia in order to facilitate the land registration of plots.

The degradation of this ecosystem also increases the risk of erosion, which leads to a decrease in the productivity of the shallows of this highly rice-producing area, Malagasy’s main food, thus increasing food insecurity. The loss of non-timber forest products that source food in income during the lean season (rainy season before the harvest) is an additional factor in the vulnerability of local communities and the risk of associated social problems. In particular, the production per hectare of silk cocoons would have been divided by 10 in 10 years (between 2008 and 2017). Currently, the availability of cocoons for wild silk production is so low that it is estimated that in the area only 3 weavers continue to work silk with other craftsmen using other materials (such as nylon).

Without tapia plantations, and even if the pressure (invasive species, human samples, bush fires) decreased or disappeared, the possibility of natural tapia coverage still exists but over the long term (tens of years). However, the current pressure could cause more than half of the remaining forest cover (and therefore the fauna and flora specific to the tapia forest) in about fifteen years. Similarly, without reforestation of wood-energy species, the pressure on tapia forests is likely to increase.

In this context, the TAPIA project consists firstly to restore, protect and reduce sustainably the human pressure on the tapia forest by increasing natural forest cover through reforestation. Il also aims to ensure additional incomes for communities through reforestation of wood-energy and honey. The support for income-generating activities through the local and sustainable production and enhancement of non-timber forest products, natural resources from restored and preserved ecosystems

Institutional, technical and financial partners

Implementing partners: Union des VOI (organisations Communautaire de base)

ODD


The TAPIA project contributes at its scale, to achieving the following Sustainable Development Goals) SDGs :

Objectif de Développement Durable Planète Urgence Objectif de Développement Durable Planète Urgence Objectif de Développement Durable Planète Urgence

Summary of the project

Madagascar, Itasy et Analamanga
Start of the project : 2013
3000000 trees planted
15.000 direct beneficiaries
ODD

The TAPIA project contributes at its scale, to achieving the following Sustainable Development Goals) SDGs :

Objectif de Développement Durable Planète Urgence Objectif de Développement Durable Planète Urgence Objectif de Développement Durable Planète Urgence