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Indigenous Silk Moth Farming as a Means to Support Ranomafana National Park

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Razafimanantosoa, Tsiresy; Ravoahangimalala, Olga R.; Craig, Catherine L.
Journal: Madagascar Conservation and Developement
Volume: 1
Page(s): 34-39
Date: 2006
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/6869
Sector: Social Organization
Region:
Subject(s): livelihoods
rural affairs
poverty
community participation
Abstract: "We envisage a world where the rural poor can derive a livelihood from protecting forests instead of cutting them down; where development planners understand that habitat health is the keystone for human health and survival, and where conservation biologists understand that long-term solutions to biodiversity loss must be built around social programs which enable local people to thrive. Our vision, however, can only be achieved when scientists express the role of biodiversity conservation in economic terms, and development planners understand environmental complexity and its role in poverty alleviation. Our long-term goal is to develop a generalized approach to biodiversity conservation that will enable scientists and development professionals to identify, plan and initiate sustainable, small-scale businesses in ecologically important areas. This paper reports on a recent study to expand current production of wild silk and explore new types of silk as one economic means of biodiversity protection in Madagascar. Madagascar is one of the most important centers of world biodiversity and 90% of its species are forest dwelling. Nevertheless, 80% of the population are subsistence farmers, and the predominant agricultural practice is 'tavy' or slash and burn. Less than 10% of the original forest remains. Development and conservation communities can effectively prevent deforestation only when they counter the macroeconomic forces that drive people to clear land. Small-scale farmers cut down forests because national and international policies, market conditions or local institutions do not provide them with reasonable alternatives. Furthermore,even when alternatives are made available, results are difficult to achieve in a short time. At least some actions need to be implemented pro-actively, in sites that are currently healthy but near areas of potential population growth. We have been working for the past year to develop an approach to identify high value export products (i.e. products whose value is likely to be least vulnerable to macroeconomic shock; Castellano and San 2005), that can be found in areas of high biodiversity and conservation importance."

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