The Spiny Forest in southwest Madagascar is home to a 90% endemic array of plant and animal species. Not so endemic are the pressures put upon the ecosystem from climate change and deforestation. Illicit charcoal production, agricultural land use change, and expanding development, for example, have led to the degradation of 43% of land cover in the last decade, threatening many of the region's endemic species. Situated at the edge of the Spiny Forest, the small village of Ranobe has historically depended on agricultural production and gathering of forest resources for villagers' livelihoods; however, these traditional income sources are becoming insufficient and unsustainable. The project team collaborated with Ho Avy, a Ranobe-based non-profit, to design a sustainable development plan for the community. The plan was based on five key drivers: water and health, land use/land management, agriculture and food supply, economic growth, and energy. To improve the health of the region's unique environment in the short and long terms, this plan recommended a combination of increased education, shifting incentives, and investment in renewable technologies to be implemented by Ho Avy. The recommendations put forth opportunities to sustainably improve livelihoods and ecosystem health.
- Olivia Lau, MS Environmental Justice
- Patty Liao, MSE Mechanical Engineering/MS Sustainable Systems
- Brennan Madden, MS Sustainable Systems
- Claire Santoro, MS Sustainable Systems