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Taking into account local practices and indigenous knowledge in an emergency conservation context in Madagascar

Marie C., Sibelet N., Dulcire M., Rafalimaro M., Danthu P., Carrière S.M.. 2010. In : Torquebiau Emmanuel (ed.), Taylor Russell (ed.). Natural resource management and local development. Heidelberg : Springer [Allemagne], p. 223-241. (Topics in biodiversity and conservation, 12).

At the 5th World Parks Congress, held in Durban, South Africa in 2003, the President of Madagascar committed his government to tripling the country's protected zones over the next 5 years. The announcement reflected a desire to combine rapid conservation efforts with sustainable development. Conservationists in Madagascar focused their attention on the endemic baobab tree, Adansonia grandidieri. This paper aims to identify the contradictions between the political emergency of the biodiversity conservation effort and local development needs. Eighty-three semi-structured interviews were conducted in two villages near the protected area of ''Baobab Alley'' in the Menabe region. Malagasy conservationists believed the area's protected status would benefit the local economy through eco-tourism. However, the conservation actions undertaken there display limited understanding of local dynamics and conflict with farmers' needs. To protect the baobabs, the government has prohibited rice cultivation without providing compensation. We show that the multifunctional baobab tree is integrated into an agroforestry system and protected by farmers. Based on these results, we address the issue of how to combine conservation and local development objectives through the involvement of farmers and the recognition of local knowledge in tree management. We also demonstrate that an emergency approach to conservation is not conducive to the successful integration of conservation and development.

Mots-clés : adansonia; gestion des ressources naturelles; politique de l'environnement; conservation des ressources; développement régional; développement agricole; intervention de l'état; gouvernance; connaissance indigène; participation; biodiversité; agroforesterie; approches participatives; adansonia grandidieri; madagascar; développement local

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