The Makira Natural Park in northeast Madagascar, an area of
372,470 hectars (or over 1,438 square miles), is the largest contiguous rain forest of the island. With its extraordinary biodiversity and its location linking several national parks, this region plays a momentous role in the ecological development of this region. To the north, it borders the Marojejy National Park, and to the east, the Masoala National Park, which was designated a Unesco World Heritage site in 2007. Approximately 300,000 people reside in these parks and the areas directly bordering them.
In order to minimize, on the still-intact rain forest areas, the impact of intentional burning of trees, illegal and unregulated chopping of exotic woods such as ebony, rosewood, and palisander, the poaching of animals, and the felling of firewood, the Makira Natural Park should introduce new agrarian technology and create new sources of income for the local population, such as growing cocoa. In contrast to neighboring Masoala National Park, a careful, sustainable use of resources could and should take place in Makira. The rain forest, which guarantees clean drinking water and protects the forestís thin humus soil layer from erosion, should be recognized as the very foundation of a healthy and sustainable life source.
Since 2012, the Makira Natural Park has received special protection within the framework of the UN-REDD+ Program. This allows the stored carbon dioxide reserves in this region to be sold as carbon credits, which in turn finance the administration and conservation of the region. The Wildlife Conservation Society-Madagascar (WCS) is the administrator of the Park, in conjunction with the government of Madagascar and the affected local communities. WCS has been active in Madagascar since the 1990s.
With the help of satellite imagery and exploration on site, WCS-Madagascar has identified many regions in which forest inventories have been destroyed or fragmented. These areas should be restored to their original growth conditions.
Eben!Holz is co-financing the reforestation of 46 parcels, totaling a 100 hectars, in the Anjanaharibe Corridor in the eastern Makira Natural Park. The goal is to have re-established, in 10 years, enough tree inventory for the rain forest to be able to regenerate itself. Committed partners of the Eben!Holz Makira project are WCS-Madagascar in close conjunction with Zoo Zurich and its Curator, Dr. Martin Bauert. From its inception, the project aims to collaborate with the local residents so that they will gain the obvious benefits and profits of its success.
The work of the Anjanaharibe-project commenced at the beginning of 2014. Thirty indigenous tree species were identified, to be cultivated in the parcels. From these thirty, the fast-growing species will be selected to be planted first, in order for their foliage to protect the more slow-growing species from the powerful sunshine in their first years. Seeds will be collected, dried, and germinated. Their sprouts will be planted in earth-filled plastic bags and placed under shelters with sheet roofing, under which the sprouts can grow into seedlings.