Lemurs live alongside agricultural communities through much of Madagascar. Within these forest-farm mosaics we implement research and outreach to ensure people and wildlife, not only co-exist, but thrive. By monitoring lemurs, critical habitat resources are identified, allowing residents to learn what to conserve and how to equitably share their area's natural capital, securing the use of these resources for generations of people and wildlife to come.
The prosperity of Madagascar's subsistence farmers is inextricably intertwined with the landscape. To provide for themselves, they follow a long tradition of swidden agriculture where land is cleared through slashing and burning, cultivated for a few seasons then left to regenerate. As nearby human populations grow, humans and wildlife are grappling with the reality of sharing resources to survive.
Identifying key elements that sustain lemur populations will contribute to smart, informed community development. Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership monitors 6 different lemur species at 4 sites from humid evergreen forest to subarid spiny thickets. With local communities, we identify necessary resources like sleeping caves, preferred nursing grounds, and critical foods that sustain lemurs. Local leaders want to learn more. Supporting this program will ensure that lemur monitoring continues.
Positive change has already taken root. In eastern Madagascar, a mayor uses data from our team to guide bamboo harvesting which protects key patches where greater bamboo lemurs feed on new growth while nursing their infants. Infant survival hit a record high the first year. In northern Madagascar, we monitor crowned lemurs in one of the world's most threatened biomes - tropical deciduous forests. We're using what we learn to design a reforestation program with trees for lemurs and people.
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