Registered: Jan 2003
Local time: 04:40 PM
Madagascar's poor await benefits of conservation
|MANTADIA, Madagascar (Reuters) -- The people of Mahatsara village do not understand why they are forbidden from burning down the wild forests of eastern Madagascar.
environmentalists say traditional "slash-and-burn" farming -- where forests are cleared for planting subsistence crops -- has decimated the Indian Ocean island's rainforests, endangering around 200,000 plant and animal species, most of which exist nowhere else in the world.
"We no longer have the right to burn the forest and plant rice but they never said what else we could do," he said. "The government wants to protect the forest, but nobody cares about protecting the peasants who live here."
So what is to be done? This is just one small story told by a much larger picture of what realistic conservation actually looks like. Trouble is many people still have a hard time envisioning what the rest of the picture looks like. How, indeed, do you implement a conservational policy and account for the socio-economic impact brought about by blocking various human activities that the protections are raised against. This issue is of global concern and highlights the fact that we can't simply wave a stick and declare "you can't do this anymore" without addressing the concerns of those who are "doing this" and empowering them with an alternative, especially when it comes to basic survival activities. What if Inuit were told they could no longer hunt or fish in their region, for example?