Madagascar and its green forests are something out of stories. It is the oldest island in the world and is home to an extraordinary range of wildlife, flora, and fauna some of which are endemic to the island and are not found anywhere in the world.
But in the new millennium, the beautiful island of Madagascar has seen a loss of about one-fifth of its forest cover. According to Global Forest Watch, the reduced forest lands were a result of a shifting agricultural practice of the natives, known as tavy.
So on Madagascar’s 60th Independence Day, President Andry Rajoelina took up the initiative to return the greenery to the lands of Madagascar. The President invited the citizens to participate in the rejuvenation of the forests.
The citizens who were present for lunch at Ankazobe were so motivated that within the span of a few hours about 1 million trees were added to the green lands. Over 500 hectares were dedicated to the purpose. The government institutions, schools, ministries, offices, and even army personnel fame forward along with various NGOs to ensure the success of this reforestation drive.
According to the experts, the real challenge was not to plant the trees, it is to keep guarding them. Jonah Ratsimbazafy, one of the prominent primatologist of Madagascar and head of GERP, there is no point in planting trees in January, if they get uprooted in July.
The President’s office has made noticeable progress in pushing for the cause. An estimated 100 million seeds have been collected at the National level to support this endeavor. The President made it clear from his approach that they wanted to strike a balance between the endemic and agroforestry species. It was important because some agroforestry species could be highly invasive and exotic. Several fruits and spices and eucalyptus have been noticed in great numbers.
The Ministry wants to make sure that people are aware of their responsibilities. The fruits inside the park will not be permitted to be consumed. Neither will the trees be cut down for lumber or charcoal.
In an interesting manner, during the lunch event, over 5 tons of seed balls- balls of soil containing 25 seeds each- were dropped from an aircraft. The Madagascar government intends to keep using drones and aircraft to reach the remote areas by drones and aircraft to support this mission. The estimated success rate for the germination of the seeds has been observed to be around 60 percent which is quite reassuring.
The President expressed that with time these seeds will grow into a haven for future generations. Madagascar Forests would be their gift to the world.
Featured Image: Ecowatch