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Restoring Madagascar's Ecosystems

Summary (TLDR; of project)

Madagascar, home to a unique array of biodiversity, faces an environmental crisis with over 90% of its original forests lost primarily to deforestation, impacting countless endemic species and human communities. Eden Reforestation Projects have planted over 200 million trees across 46 sites, making significant strides in habitat restoration and carbon sequestration, which is vital for both local and global ecological health.


Madagascar, an isolated island nation off Africa's southeastern coast, has evolved into a unique sanctuary of biodiversity unparalleled anywhere else on the planet. Millennia of isolation have fostered the development of countless species that exist nowhere else, making the island a living museum of natural history. However, this irreplaceable treasure is on the brink of catastrophic loss. Over 90% of Madagascar's primary forests have vanished, eradicated by a relentless wave of deforestation caused by slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal timber harvesting, and the charcoal trade.

The ramifications of this environmental devastation extend beyond the island's unique flora and fauna. They strike at the heart of human communities, particularly those in underserved areas. Forests are not just repositories of biodiversity; they are the linchpins of ecological equilibrium, crucial for carbon storage, climate moderation, and providing essential resources for local populations. The obliteration of these ecosystems exposes Madagascar to an array of dire consequences, including escalated soil erosion, diminished agricultural yields, and an increased susceptibility to natural catastrophes like hurricanes, tsunamis, and floods.

Against this backdrop, the initiatives led by Eden Reforestation Projects in Madagascar have emerged as beacons of hope. The mission is twofold: safeguard the remnants of the island's forested areas and actively engage in their restoration. This commitment involves the reforestation of denuded lands with indigenous species, the rehabilitation of coastal mangrove estuaries, and the adoption of sustainable land management practices to avert future degradation. These concerted efforts harbor the potential not only for the rejuvenation of Madagascar's distinct ecosystems but also for enhancing the livelihoods of its residents, paving the way toward a resilient and sustainable future.

Madagascar's environmental plight is a clarion call to the world. The endeavors of Eden Reforestation Projects to restore the island's ecosystems represent a critical stride towards conserving one of the planet's most exceptional biodiversity hotspots. It is a testament to a global commitment towards environmental stewardship and social responsibility. By rallying behind reforestation and conservation efforts, we can contribute to the enduring legacy of Madagascar's forests, safeguarding its extraordinary species and ameliorating the quality of life for its people.


  • Over 200 Million Trees planted in Madagascar by Eden Reforestation Projects, contributing significantly to global reforestation efforts.
  • 90%+ Loss of Original Forests in Madagascar, illustrating the extensive environmental challenges faced.
  • Hundreds of Species at Risk of extinction without habitat restoration, highlighting the importance of ongoing conservation work.
  • 46 Project Sites across Madagascar, demonstrating the wide-reaching scope of restoration efforts.
  • Significant Carbon Sequestration: Restored forests in Madagascar play a crucial role in carbon dioxide capture, helping to mitigate climate change impacts.
  • Endangered Lemurs Protected: Home to over 100 species of lemurs, many of which are critically endangered, the restoration sites provide essential habitats for their survival.

Why Restore in Madagascar?

Madagascar is not just an island; it's a world unto itself. A significant portion of its wildlife is exclusive to the island, making it one of the planet's most critical conservation priorities. Eden Reforestation Projects focuses on Madagascar for several compelling reasons, rooted deeply in the island's unique biodiversity and the stark reality of its environmental degradation.

Global Biodiversity Hotspot

Madagascar's status as a biodiversity hotspot is unparalleled. About 75% of the species found on the island are endemic, meaning they exist nowhere else on Earth. This includes more than 100 species of lemurs, which are among the most vivid symbols of the island's unique wildlife. However, the rampant destruction of habitat poses a grave threat to these species, many of which are now on the brink of extinction.

The island's flora is equally unique and imperiled. With 90% of its original forests already lost, the remaining 10% are critical reservoirs of genetic diversity and natural beauty. These forests are not just habitats for wildlife; they are also vital for the island's climate regulation and the well-being of its human inhabitants.

Environmental and Social Impact

The destruction of Madagascar's forests has far-reaching consequences, both environmentally and socially. Mangrove estuaries along the coastline, crucial for the health of marine ecosystems, have been decimated, leading to the destruction of fisheries that many local communities depend on for their livelihood. This loss exacerbates the vulnerability of coastal areas to natural disasters, including hurricanes, tsunamis, and floods, posing a direct threat to human life and property.

Inland, the situation is no less dire. Deforestation threatens the survival of one of the world's rarest and most diverse forest systems. This not only impacts the unique biodiversity within these forests but also contributes to significant environmental problems, such as soil erosion and decreased water quality, which in turn affect agricultural productivity and food security.

Restoration as a Path Forward

Eden Reforestation Projects' efforts in Madagascar aim to counter these trends by restoring lost forests and degraded lands. The focus on mangrove restoration along the coast and reforestation of dry deciduous and highland forests inland is strategic. These actions not only aim to bring back lost forests but also to reinstate the ecological balance necessary for the survival of unique species and the improvement of local communities' resilience to climate change.

Restoring these ecosystems is also about restoring hope. By working closely with local communities, Eden Reforestation Projects not only plants trees but also provides employment opportunities in underserved regions, empowering individuals and fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility towards the environment. This community-based approach ensures the sustainability of restoration efforts, as the benefits of reforestation extend beyond environmental recovery to economic and social revitalization.

In essence, the restoration work in Madagascar by Eden Reforestation Projects is a multifaceted effort, addressing urgent environmental challenges while also paving the way for long-term social and economic improvements. It's a testament to the power of collective action in facing global conservation challenges, showcasing the critical importance of restoring and protecting one of the world's most extraordinary places.

Restoration Journey

The narrative of Eden Reforestation Projects in Madagascar is a testament to the transformative power of restoration. Beginning in 2007, this journey underscores a profound commitment to environmental stewardship and community engagement. Here’s how a focused initiative evolved into a widespread restoration movement across the island.

Initiating Mangrove Restoration

The story began in the coastal city of Mahajanga, where the vast mangrove estuaries had suffered extensive degradation. Recognizing the critical role of mangroves in coastal protection, biodiversity support, and carbon sequestration, Eden Reforestation Projects embarked on a mission to rehabilitate these vital ecosystems. Collaborating closely with local communities, the project involved clearing the estuaries of debris and dead trees, collecting and planting native mangrove propagules during the favorable conditions of low tide.

This meticulous, community-driven effort bore fruit less than a decade later, transforming a once-degraded landscape into a flourishing mangrove forest. This success not only marked a significant environmental turnaround but also revitalized local fisheries, thereby supporting the livelihoods of coastal communities.

Expanding to Dry Deciduous and Highland Forests

Encouraged by the success in Mahajanga, Eden Reforestation Projects broadened its scope. In 2012, the focus expanded to include the restoration of upland dry deciduous forests, which had been severely impacted by slash-and-burn agriculture and unsustainable logging practices. These efforts aimed to restore land devastated by these practices, reintroducing native tree species to rebuild forest ecosystems and support local wildlife.

The ambition didn't stop there. In 2020, Eden Reforestation Projects took a significant step further by initiating restoration efforts in Madagascar's highland forests. These areas, characterized by their unique biodiversity and ecological significance, faced pressing threats from deforestation and degradation. By extending restoration efforts to these highlands, Eden aimed to protect and restore some of the island's most critical habitats, contributing to the conservation of its unique flora and fauna and providing further stability to the region's climate.

A Holistic Approach to Restoration

Eden Reforestation Projects’ strategy in Madagascar is distinguished by its holistic approach, recognizing that effective restoration involves more than just planting trees. It encompasses building infrastructure such as guardhouses, fire towers, and seed banks, which are essential for the protection and maintenance of reforestation sites. Moreover, Eden has established a training center for local nursery managers, offering hands-on experience in seedling management and reforestation techniques. This not only ensures the sustainability of the restoration efforts but also empowers local communities by providing valuable skills and employment opportunities.

Community Engagement and Impact

A cornerstone of Eden Reforestation Projects’ approach is its deep engagement with local communities. By involving residents in the restoration process, from nursery management to tree planting, Eden ensures that the projects have local buy-in and are tailored to meet the specific needs and challenges of each area. This engagement has turned restoration projects into sources of community pride and economic opportunity, creating over 3,480 jobs in underserved areas and fostering a culture of environmental stewardship.

The journey of Eden Reforestation Projects in Madagascar is a vivid illustration of how targeted, community-centric conservation efforts can lead to large-scale environmental and social benefits. From the coastal mangroves to the highland forests, the restoration work has not only brought back lost ecosystems but has also built a foundation for sustainable development and community resilience.

Where We’re Working

Eden Reforestation Projects' restoration efforts span across diverse ecosystems in Madagascar, each with its unique challenges and opportunities. By focusing on both coastal and inland regions, Eden addresses the multifaceted aspects of environmental degradation, aiming to restore ecological balance and support community livelihoods. Here’s a closer look at the key areas of focus:

Coastal Restoration Efforts

Northwest Madagascar: Mangrove Restoration

Location and Significance: The northwest coast of Madagascar is home to expansive mangrove forests, critical for biodiversity, coastal protection, and the livelihoods of local communities. These mangroves act as natural buffers against storm surges and erosion, while also serving as breeding grounds for many marine species.

Projects: Eden Reforestation Projects' mangrove restoration in this region focuses on rehabilitating areas that have been cleared or degraded. The work involves clearing debris, planting mangrove propagules, and monitoring growth to ensure the restored areas flourish, thereby enhancing marine biodiversity and stabilizing coastlines.

Impact: Restored mangroves have led to the rejuvenation of fisheries, a vital source of food and income for local populations. Additionally, these efforts contribute to global climate mitigation by sequestering significant amounts of carbon dioxide.

Highlighted Area: Ankarafantsika National Park

This park is a beacon of biodiversity, encompassing the largest tropical dry deciduous forest in Madagascar. It's not only a sanctuary for eight species of endangered lemurs but also houses 70% endemic plant species, underscoring the critical importance of protecting and restoring these habitats.

Inland Restoration Projects

Northwest Madagascar: Dry Deciduous and Highland Forest Restoration

Challenges: The inland regions of northwest Madagascar have suffered extensive deforestation due to slash-and-burn agriculture and overexploitation. This has resulted in significant habitat loss for countless species and has made the land vulnerable to erosion and flooding.

Projects: Eden Reforestation Projects tackles these challenges by restoring dry deciduous forests and expanding into highland forest areas. These initiatives aim to reestablish forest cover, enhance land stability, and provide a sanctuary for the island's unique wildlife. Restoration activities include the selection and planting of native tree species, land management practices to prevent further degradation, and the establishment of protected areas to ensure the long-term survival of these ecosystems.

Impact: These projects not only restore vital habitats for wildlife but also improve water retention and soil fertility, which are essential for agriculture and local food security. By stabilizing the land, these efforts also protect against natural disasters, directly benefiting nearby communities.

Our Comprehensive Approach

Eden Reforestation Projects' work in Madagascar is a holistic endeavor that combines ecological restoration with socio-economic development. By engaging local communities in the restoration process, Eden ensures that conservation efforts are sustainable and beneficial to both the environment and the people who depend on it. This approach has led to the successful management of over 42,800 hectares across 46 project sites, making Madagascar Eden's most extensive restoration effort to date.

The focus on diverse ecosystems, from coastal mangroves to inland dry deciduous and highland forests, highlights the interconnectedness of Madagascar's ecological health and the well-being of its communities. Eden Reforestation Projects continues to expand its efforts, aiming to restore not just the land but also hope for the future of this unique island and its inhabitants.

Progress to Date

Eden Reforestation Projects has achieved significant milestones in Madagascar, demonstrating the impact of sustained and collaborative restoration efforts. Here's an overview of the progress made and the tangible benefits these projects have delivered to both ecosystems and local communities.

Extensive Restoration Achievements

Hectares Under Management

Eden Reforestation Projects has successfully brought under management over 42,800 hectares of land across Madagascar. This vast area, spanning coastal mangroves, dry deciduous forests, and highland ecosystems, represents a critical step towards reversing the tide of deforestation and habitat loss. By focusing on native species planting and ecosystem rehabilitation, these efforts not only restore biodiversity but also contribute to carbon sequestration, combatting climate change at a global scale.

Employment and Community Development

A cornerstone of Eden's approach is its commitment to providing employment opportunities in underserved geographies. To date, more than 3,480 individuals have been employed through the restoration projects in Madagascar. These jobs range from nursery management and tree planting to site maintenance and monitoring, offering not just income but also skill development and a sense of ownership over local environmental resources.

This employment model serves dual purposes: it directly benefits local economies and ensures the sustainability of restoration efforts. Community members, having a vested interest in the success of these projects, become natural stewards of the restored lands.

Environmental Impact

The environmental benefits of Eden Reforestation Projects' work in Madagascar are profound. Restored mangrove estuaries are once again providing critical habitat for marine life and acting as natural defenses against coastal erosion and storm surges. Inland, the reforestation of dry deciduous and highland forests is revitalizing habitats for endangered species, including various lemur species, and restoring the ecological functions of these landscapes.

Moreover, the significant area under management contributes to global efforts to mitigate climate change through carbon absorption. These forests serve as vital carbon sinks, capturing CO2 from the atmosphere and reducing the overall impact of greenhouse gases.

Looking Forward

While the achievements to date are notable, Eden Reforestation Projects recognizes that the journey toward full ecological restoration in Madagascar is ongoing. The organization continues to scale up its efforts, with plans to expand existing projects and initiate new ones in other critical areas of the island. The goal is to not only restore more hectares of forest but also to enhance the resilience of local communities to environmental changes, ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for Madagascar.

The progress made by Eden Reforestation Projects in Madagascar exemplifies how targeted, community-driven conservation efforts can yield significant environmental and social benefits. As these initiatives continue to grow, they offer hope and a model for restoration efforts worldwide, demonstrating the power of collective action in addressing some of the most pressing ecological challenges of our time.

Wrapping up

The restoration journey undertaken by Eden Reforestation Projects in Madagascar is a profound demonstration of the power and potential of concerted conservation efforts. Through the restoration of over 42,800 hectares of critical habitats, including mangrove estuaries, dry deciduous forests, and highland ecosystems, Eden has not only contributed to the preservation of Madagascar's unique biodiversity but has also provided substantial socio-economic benefits to local communities.

The achievements in Madagascar reflect a commitment to a world where environmental restoration and community development go hand in hand. By employing more than 3,480 individuals in underserved areas, Eden Reforestation Projects has empowered local communities, fostering a sense of ownership and stewardship over the natural resources upon which their futures depend.

This work, however, is far from complete. The challenges of deforestation, habitat loss, and climate change continue to loom large, not just in Madagascar but globally. Eden Reforestation Projects' efforts underscore the critical importance of global conservation efforts and the need for continued support and engagement from individuals, organizations, and governments around the world.

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