Madagascar is a huge island nation, the fourth largest island in the world, located off the southeast coast of Africa. Madagascar split from the Indian peninsula approximately 88 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90 percent of its plants, primates, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are found nowhere else on earth. The island’s diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the rapidly growing human population and other environmental threats.
The project in Madagascar is both a reforestation of a degraded forest and a community nursery. It takes place on the Masoala Peninsula located in the northeast part of the island. This area is rich in a great diversity of endemic fauna and flora due to its huge size and variety of habitats. Altogether, the peninsula contains tropical rainforest, coastal forest, flooded forest, marsh, and mangrove. Unfortunately, during 2009 and 2010, the area was invaded by thousands of illegal loggers searching for rosewood.
The planting of your gift tree in Madagascar will help plant 11 varieties of native trees, including eucalyptus, acacia, grevillea (a type of oak), giroflier, cocoa tree, and coffee trees. The nursery production is open to local inhabitants who will plant fruit-producing trees. The yield from these trees will provide the participants with a marketable product and thereby promote the local economy. The remaining trees will be of a fast-growing variety that will help with afforestation, the establishment of a forest where there previously was no tree coverage, helping reduce pressure on the wild forest by creating an energy source for the local population.