The Aspinall Foundation

CAZ West Project Update Feb 2024

Posted by The Aspinall Foundation on 20-Feb-2024 09:43:42

It has been a busy time during the first few months of our latest project in CAZ West, made possible with the support of The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. The focus of this multi-year project is to build resilience in the local communities to the impact of climate change. This in turn helps to protect the vital ecosystem on which all wildlife and vulnerable habitats depend.

C2_D2-2_Training 2023 11_Climate Smart Agriculture_Raboana
Training local community members in Climate-Smart agriculture  © The Aspinall Foundation Madagascar

Improving natural resource management is at the core of our project, encompassing a wide range of topics.  In many rural areas of Madagascar, poor farming techniques lead to rapid soil degradation, driving slash-and-burn agriculture that destroys primary forests. One key focus of this project is providing training to communities on climate-smart agricultural techniques. As a first step, we are teaching communities how to make and use compost to improve soil quality and fertility, replacing the need for burning and expanding agriculture areas. This approach aims to reduce accidental fires and the need to encroach further into forests for farming.

Protecting the remaining primary rainforests worldwide is crucial. Forests not only capture carbon dioxide but also play a vital role in stabilizing the world’s climate by adding humidity to the air and moderating rainwater movement.

Pesticides and herbicides, which are harmful to both humans and the environment, are often used without proper measures or knowledge of the quantities being applied. To address this issue, we are teaching communities natural methods to control pests and reduce weed growth in their agricultural areas.

C2_D2-3_Equipment 2023 11 Shredder
One of the shredding machines to be used as part of Climate-Smart agriculture © The Aspinall Foundation Madagascar

The training is supported by the provision of equipment, including man-powered shredders that can be used to shred plant material ready for addition to compost heaps. In addition to training and support in organic compost-making, biological pest management and waste management the varieties of crops to be grown and cultivation methods will also be tailored for better resilience to the changing weather patterns.

Agriculture is a major activity in rural communities, providing both food and income, and its impact on the environment is therefore considerable. One of our aims is that, by the end of this project, around 300 families across five communities will achieve better food production and increased resilience against the negative impacts of climate change from improved agricultural techniques. As a result, the reduction in environmentally damaging activities will help preserve the vital habitat of Critically Endangered species, such as Indri, one of the largest living lemurs and one of the key species that we have been working to protect in CAZ West for more than ten years.

Indri  © The Aspinall Foundation Madagascar

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.

Topics: Conservation, The Aspinall Foundation, Lemurs, Madagascar

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