In Madagascar – a biodiversity hotspot of international importance – the villagers depend on the forest first for its soil as a reserve of arable land as well as a shelter and a pasture for the herds, and second for the production of timber, charcoal and other forest products. Most of the currently proposed conservation management systems for forests do not take into consideration villagers’ needs, in Madagascar too; indeed degradation and deforestation have continuously occurred in places where the forest is under great pressure.
In targeting the improvement of the livelihood of local populations and the maintenance of “multifunctionality”, especially the ecological value of the forest, the present project aims at developing scientific criteria for a sustainable management of forest landscapes in western Madagascar at a regional scale. A detailed inventory of resources and a specific understanding of stakeholder requirements and strategies will allow drawing an accurate picture of the human-forest interface. A participatory approach paves the way for realistic management criteria that are really adequate to the ecological and social situations. The management criteria will provide a tool for further discussions on landscape management in central Menabe.