The Zazamalala forest
After 2000 people from all corners of Madagascar came to the Morondava area to cultivate rice. By 2005 the Zazamalala forest was a green island in between wetlands. By that time most Sakalava in rural areas were still afraid of white Europeans, but nonetheless many entered the forest at night to cut trees and hunt for bushmeat, something they and their ancestors had always been doing. With a handful of guards Simon and Jocelyne defended the heron chicks, the lemurs and the wild pigs. Several battles with villagers armed with spears and axes resulted in a killed Zazamalala guard and villagers sentenced to prison. However, times were changing and the local people appreciated the forest as a relict from their ancestors, worthwhile protecting. In the meantime, Simon and a team of international volunteers, together with paid local people, planted thousands of seedlings of rare species that once lived in the area and gradually the Zazamalala forest started to flourish. Many local people received a paid job in the forest, which made their families economically independent. Nowadays, Zazamalala is a beautiful dry forest with numerous endangered plants and animals. Visitors from all over the world come to enjoy its richness.
The Zazamalala foundation works on the reforestation of a green corridor between the Zazamalala forest and the Mena Be nature reserve, formerly known as Andranomena, Marofandilia and Kirindy. This implies a 30 km strip of new forest, 500 hectares in all. Ultimately, this forest will be a lasting habitat for endangered animals and plants, favouring genetic diversity, importand for their healthy survival into the future.
Protecting and enhancing the forests of west Madagascar.