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In this issue:
Everyone together for a greener Madagascar!

The Malagasy Government has set out to plant 60 million trees! This initiative is intended to coincide and mark the occasion of 60 years of independence of the country while making the island green again. The 2020 reforestation campaign was officially launched in Firarazana in the district of Ankazobe on January 9, 2020.
No former tree-planting campaign in Madagascar has ever hosted such massive level of participation. Various ministries, national and international NGOs, associations, and projects, including the private sector and ordinary citizens have rushed to lend a hand to ensure the initiative success.
WCS Madagascar has responded to the Government’s call with the team planting about 350 seedlings on the initiation day. "We support the Government's initiative of making Madagascar green again", says Lovy Rasolofomanana, the Country Director of WCS Madagascar program, who also took part in the action. "We have an ecological interest since reforestation contributes to the reduction of pressures on natural forests we protect”, he explains. The Country Director added that WCS would always continue to participate in this initiative. In 2019, WCS Madagascar planted over 100,000 trees in northeastern Madagascar, a target we aim to greatly surpass in 2020.

And on February 28 again, WCS held its commitment in taking part in reforestation activities that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized in Imerintsiatosika along with other organizations with the same objective to make the Big Island of Madagascar green again.
Restoration of the Forest Corridor of Maintimbato/Anjanaharibe 
Support from the association Eben!Holz e.V.
Silke Lichtenberg, PhD researcher supported by Eben!Holz, visited WCS’s restoration site in within the Controlled Occupation Zone of Maintimbato, within Makira Natural Park last year. Following the visit she was impressed by the reforestation effort in this forest and committed to pass on a positive message to Eben!Holz and to support the field teams with much needed materials. She praises the project achievements despite the challenges the WCS field team faces on a day to day basis including the difficulty to access the site crossing steep muddy trails and countless river crossings. During her visit Silke insisted on taking part and helping the team with seedlings transplantation.
And the promise made was kept: thanks for her commitment and support the team received three GPS devices in January to add to their work materials. We thank Silke, the association Eben!Holz, and the community associations for their support to the forest restoration in Makira!
Culture of sustainable cocoa 
Media event at Zurich Zoo.
A meeting of sustainable fairtrade cocoa actors occurred in the Hall of Masoala of Zürich Zoo in Switzerland on February 13, 2020. The event was co-organized by Zurich Zoo, Coop Supermarket, and Chocolats Halba/Sunray. The event included exchanges with cocoa farmers from Madagascar and Honduras and tasting chocolate. 
The project “Cocoa Madagascar” –based in MaMaBay on the edges of Makira and Masoala in northeastern Madagascar– was a key part of the event. The project was launched in 2018 in collaboration with WCS, Chocolats Halba and Zürich Zoo with the objective to promote sustainable cultivation of premium cocoa, which is well-known for its unique taste. This project is promoting the natural production of plants, combining forest and cocoa trees with other cultivation such as fruit trees, cash crops, and annual crops for farmers’ daily needs. By promoting agroforestry techniques, soils fertility is improved while biodiversity is protected, and farmers have an increase of revenue thanks to this approach. The project also involves setting up demonstration plots and training farmers who can then showcase and teach others.
Felestin Randrianjafy represented Madagascar during the event in Switzerland. He is from Marovovonana, one of the community-based associations (COBA) around Makira Natural Park. He is a retired officer of the Malagasy Army and also the president of the cooperative of cocoa, vanilla and clove farmers in his village.
Felestin Randrianjafy is one of the local demonstration farmers and trainers of this cacao and agroforestry approach. The demand for organic products continues to increase globally as well as the area of organic cultivation, according to the latest edition of the study "The World of Organic Agriculture" based on 2018 data from 186 countries. Together with Chocolats Halba, the Zürich Zoo, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Cocoa Madagascar project aims not only to promote the cultivation of premium cocoa through the dynamic agroforestry method, but also to give small farmers the opportunity to earn additional income from cocoa while helping to maintain the MaMaBay Landscape biodiversity.
 
Simpona Ecolodge in Antsahabe
Electricity is available at the site.

To improve the experience of tourists who visit Makira natural Park, a solar system was installed at the Simpona Ecolodge ecotourism site thanks to the generous support from the Liz Clairbone Art Ortenberg Foundation (LCAOF). The system comprises two solar panels, batteries, wiring system which provides lighting and charging facilities for the kitchen and bungalows. The site kitchen now has a functioning freezer and refrigerator helping to keep drinks cold and food fresh.
It is worth mentioning that access trail to the site is improved; the bridge and the trails that were once muddy and challenging are rehabilitated. It takes about four hours by canoe and an additional one to two hours’ hike to get to the ecolodge site after leaving the town of Maroantsetra.

This site was first opened in 2014 and it is managed in collaboration with a local community association from the nearby village of Andaparaty. The revenue generated from the tourism site have already enabled to local community to build their own community health clinic and rehabilitate their school. The site is not only an ecolodge but it also acts as an operational research station, open to national and international researchers who study Makira incredible biodiversity.

 
Tandavandriva Nosy Be
The Platform of Tandavandriva Nosy Be is legalized.
The Platform of Tandavandriva Nosy Be has finally been legalized to help coordinate and oversee the establishment and management of conservation activities of the Tandavandriva. The platform together with WCS aims to contribute to improving the living conditions of the local population while preserving the biological and economical value of the fisheries.

Today the platform has around 30 members, including regional government representatives of Fisheries, Environment, Tourism, Maritime Transport, Public and Maritime Security, as well as local and regional authorities of the DIANA region, fisher representatives, tourism operators, and NGOs working in marine conservation and sustainable management in the area.
Tandavandriva Nosy Be is the name given to the reef corridor to the west and the northwest of the Perfume Island.

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