Mitsinjo’s environmental education program

Improving livelihoods, training para-ecologists, enthralling children: Earning trust for effective community-based biodiversity conservation in Andasibe, eastern Madagascar

Rainer Dolch, Jean-Noël Ndriamiary, Tianasoa Ratolojanahary, Mad Randrianasolo, Irène Augustine Ramanantenasoa


The rainforests of eastern Madagascar are shrinking due to population growth, poverty-driven land degradation and widespread ignorance of ecological dynamics. This has resulted in large-scale transformation and fragmentation of these forests, threatening their unique biodiversity. Many of these problems are also manifest in and around the village of Andasibe. Based on the example of Association Mitsinjo, and drawing from more than a decade of experience of community-based natural resource management in Andasibe, we highlight the challenges and successes of a community-run conservation organization that builds trust through a holistic approach resting on five building blocks: (i) management transfer of natural resources to the local community, (ii) community-based nature tourism, (iii) training of para-scientists, (iv) rainforest restoration and improving local livelihoods, and (v) environmental education. This has resulted in the creation and legal protection of two community-run reserves, Analamazaotra and Torotorofotsy, accompanied by ecological monitoring programs. We illustrate how handing over responsibilities to local communities can be a promising approach to conserving natural resources and biodiversity in Madagascar and elsewhere.



La superficie des forêts tropicales de l’est de Madagascar diminue avec la croissance démographique, la dégradation des terres par effet de la pauvreté, ainsi que par l'ignorance générale des interrelations écologiques. Tout cela a abouti à une transformation profonde et étendue ainsi qu’à la fragmentation de ces forêts qui menacent leur biodiversité. Ces problèmes globaux sont pour la plupart rencontrés à la périphérie du village d'Andasibe. Ici, l’exemple de l'Association Mitsinjo est présenté avec plus d’une décennie d’expérience en gestion communautaire des ressources naturelles à Andasibe. Sont ainsi exposés les défis et les succès d'une organisation de conservation gérée par la communauté qui gagne la confiance à travers une approche posée sur cinq piliers : (i) le transfert de gestion des ressources naturelles à la communauté locale, (ii) l’écotourisme à base communautaire, (iii) la formation de para-scientifiques, (iv) la restauration de la forêt tropicale humide en augmentant les moyens de subsistance des gens vivant sur la périphérie, et (v) l’éducation environnementale. Les actions entreprises ont abouti à la création et la protection efficace de deux réserves gérées par la communauté, accompagnées de programmes de surveillance écologique. Grâce à la responsabilisation des collectivités locales dans la protection de la biodiversité, elles montrent une fierté des actions entreprises qui est un indice prometteur pour la conservation des ressources naturelles et de la biodiversité à Madagascar et ailleurs.


CBNRM; Andasibe; management transfer; nature tourism; para-scientists; ecosystem services; livelihoods; environmental education; transfert de gestion; biodiversity; biodiversité;

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