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Forest conservation efforts in Madagascar making poor people even poorer

By Daniel Finnan

New research investigating conservation efforts in Madagascar says some 27,000 people are suffering from restrictions aimed at maintaining tropical forest. The study, published in the PeerJ journal, suggests that people living in the protected area have not been fully compensated and their incomes are affected as a result. The Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor, in eastern Madagascar, is part of a pilot project under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme supported by the World Bank. The REDD scheme aims to protect forests as part of the fight against climate change. The project is being implemented through a system of World Bank safeguards and as such is supposed to compensate local people for the impact that conservation restrictions have on their income. The study is not suggesting that conservation efforts should be stopped, instead it is calling for forest dwellers to be properly compensated for the impact conservation has on their livelihoods, in particular on traditional agricultural practices. The study is based on interviews and testimonies of more than 600 people spanning several communities over two years. Spotlight on Africa spoke to Julia Jones, an expert in conservation science at Bangor University, one of the lead researchers…

Q&A: Julia Jones

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