Tree as beehive with honey in the Agnalavelo forest, photo by Tabita Randrianarivony

Value of useful goods and ecosystem services from Agnalavelo sacred forest and their relationships with forest conservation

Tabita N. Randrianarivony, Tefy H. Andriamihajarivo, Aro V. Ramarosandratana, Fortunat Rakotoarivony, Vololoniaina H. Jeannoda, Alyse Kuhlman, Armand Randrianasolo, Rainer Bussmann


Agnalavelo forest provides necessary natural resources to people who live in its surroundings (Communities of Mahaboboka, Amboronabo and Mikoboka in southwestern Madagascar). The aim of this study is to document goods and ecosystem services provided by Agnalavelo forest to local people and to use it as a tool for the identification of priorities for forest conservation. Oral interviews were undertaken from 2010–2013 with local communities living in the vicinity of Agnalavelo forest. This study also investigated forest resource use, conducted inventories of tree species, estimated wood biovolume, as well as the economic benefits associated with conservation due to carbon storage. Finally, we recorded felled trees caused by honey collection inside the forest and determine the cause for their slaughter. An investigation with the ownership of rice fields irrigated by rivers taking sources from Agnalavelo forest was also conducted. Based on field surveys and analysis, communities living around Agnalavelo forest draw substantial benefits for their daily life from the forest. Goods and ecosystem services are classified in the three categories (provisioning, cultural and regulating services) according to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA). Cultural services are highly valuable to local people as the forest is a dwelling place for their ancestor’s spirits. Agnalavelo forest provides Non Wood Forest Products (NWFPs) such as foods, tools, magic and medicinal plants and fresh water for local people. It is able to store 152 tons of carbon per hectare which is very important for climate regulation in this dry southwestern part of Madagascar. Endemic tree species hosting bee hives are often felled during harvesting period. Agnalavelo forest conservation is very important not only with regards to its biodiversity but also for goods and services that it provides to local population.




La forêt d’Agnalavelo, sur les communes de Mahaboboka, Amboronabo et Mikoboka, au sud-ouest de Madagascar, fournit les ressources naturelles nécessaires pour la population riveraine. L’objectif de cette étude a été de documenter les biens et les services éco-systémiques fournis par la forêt d’Agnalavelo pour les populations locales, afin d’identifier les priorités pour la conservation de cette forêt. Des enquêtes auprès des communautés vivant à proximité de la forêt Agnalavelo ont été menées, entre 2010 et 2013, sur l'utilisation des ressources forestières. Des inventaires écologiques des espèces d'arbres forestiers utilisés ont été réalisés pour déterminer le biovolume ainsi que les bénéfices économiques associés à la conservation de la forêt d’Agnalavelo par le stockage de carbone. Un inventaire des arbres abattus le long d'une piste forestière et les causes de leurs abattages ont complété l’étude, ainsi que des enquêtes auprès des propriétaires des rizières irriguées par les rivières qui prennent leurs sources dans la forêt d’Agnalavelo qui ont révélé que les communautés riveraines en tirent profit dans leur quotidien. La forêt d’Agnalavelo offre trois catégories de biens et services éco-systémiques, à savoir les services d’approvisionnement, les services culturels et les services de régulation. Les services culturels sont les plus importants pour la population locale. La forêt d’Agnalavelo fournit les produits forestiers non ligneux tels que de la nourriture, des outils, des plantes considérées comme magiques, des plantes médicinales et de l'eau douce pour la population locale. La forêt d’Agnalavelo peut stocker 152 tonnes de carbone par hectare, valeur importante pour la régulation du climat dans cette région sèche de Madagascar. Des arbres appartenant à des espèces endémiques de Madagascar et abritant des ruches sont souvent abattus lors de la récolte du miel. La conservation de la forêt d’Agnalavelo est importante aussi bien pour la biodiversité qu’elle héberge que pour les biens et services des écosystèmes qu'elle fournit à la population locale.


Goods and ecosystem services; Analavelona; sacred forest; conservation; useful plants. Biens et services écosystémiques; forêt sacrée; conservation; plantes utiles

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