Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kirindy Mitea turns 10 and has a growth spurt

Prepared August 30, 2008

To counteract the gloomy message of the last entry, I’m going to share with you some great news. Within the last year, the Malagasy government and its park management agency, Association Nationale pour la Gestion des Aires Protégées (ANGAP), decided to expand the size of Kirindy Mitea National Park. Originally formed in 1997 with approximately 70,000 hectares, the park now encompasses almost 140,000 hectares, including a unique marine reserve just off the coast. This expansion successfully protected the largest continuous patch of dry forest remaining in the West, as well as made Kirindy Mitea one of the biggest preserves in Madagascar. Seeing as how the dry forest has experienced more severe deforestation then the eastern rainforest, this expansion is an important victory for conservation. What’s more, recent studies have shown with geospatial analysis of satellite images that reforestation has actually gained forest acreage more so than any deforestation occurring in the park. The challenge will come now, however, in monitoring this expansive range, as well as in garnering support from local communities. My hat’s off to Kirindy Mitea and their dedicated ANGAP crew.

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