REFORESTATION OF THE MASOALA NATIONAL PARK
The Illegal cutting and trade of precious woods is a major global problem, and in some places contributes to the disappearance of, or threat to, entire ecosystems. Some of these threatened woods are used for our instruments. So the protection of these woods and their ecosystems lies near to our hearts.
The Masoala National Park, on the northwest coast of Madagascar, is one of five areas exhibiting the world's greatest biodiversity. However, among other activities, Illegal logging methods and “slash-and-burn” clearing contribute to degeneration and destruction of both the lowland rainforest and the coastal forest area, and sometimes lead to uncontrollable fires.
The soil layers in these areas are often thin and poor in nutrients, thus the arable land obtained by slash-and-burn farming quickly becomes unusable as more and more new forest is cleared to feed the approximately 9000 local people.
Our project goals are:
REFORESTATION OF DEGENERATED LANDS
In reforestation efforts, seedlings are grown from the seeds of endemic trees, and then planted at optimal spacings in the areas that have been freed from degenerate scrub. Our plan includes the plating of 140,000 trees on 200 hectares in the first five years, to produce a forest area of 320 hectares.
Rosewood and ebony – woods used in instrument building – are among the endemic species.
COOPERATION WITH THE POPULATION
Cooperation with the local population will include providing local farmers with vanilla plants and clove trees, to be planted in a 5 km wide strip around the jungle area. This method is designed to protect the forest and to generate a good income.
Further cooperation includes helping the local people grow and plant seedlings, and collaboration with local schools, by providing teaching materials that promote sustainable reforestation projects. The youth will be guided in efforts to grow and plant seedlings, and taught to document and monitor their growth.
Our efforts will fund two annual environmental festivals, intended to boost tourism in this interesting biosphere. Information campaigns for larger cities in the surrounding area are also planned.
Our efforts here spring from our desire to awaken an understanding for this sensitive ecosystem among the local population and the wider community. We want to demonstrate the value of protecting and preserving this beautiful land while helping the local population live sustainably from it.
This project was initiated and designed by Dr. Bauert of the Zurich Zoo and is carried out and monitored by the Wildlife Conservation Society. To date this project has been well received by the local population.