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Cote-Laurin M.-C.,University of Algarve | Benbow S.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Erzini K.,University of Algarve
Continental Shelf Research | Year: 2017

Cyclones are large-scale disturbances with highly destructive potential in coastal ecosystems. On February 22, 2013, a powerful tropical cyclone made landfall on the southwest coast of Madagascar, a region which is infrequently hit by such extreme weather events coming from the Mozambique Channel. Seagrass ecosystems, which provide valuable ecosystems services to local communities, are especially vulnerable because they thrive in shallow waters. The impact of Cyclone Haruna on seagrass diversity, height and coverage and associated fish diversity, abundance and biomass was assessed in 3 sites near Andavadoaka (22°07′S, 43°23′E) before and after the event using fish underwater visual census, video-transects, and seagrass quadrats. The cyclone caused a significant loss in seagrass cover at all 3 sites. Thalassia hemprichii and Syringodium isoetifolium were the most affected species. Andavadoaka beach, the most exposed site, which was also subject to human use and was most fragmented, suffered the largest negative effects of the cyclone. Cyclone Haruna was not found to significantly affect fish assemblages, which are highly mobile organisms able to use a diversity of niches and adjacent habitats after seagrass fragmentation. Extensive sampling and longer time-scale studies would be needed to fully evaluate the cyclone impact on communities of seagrass and fish, and track potential recovery in seagrass coverage. The intensity and destructive potential of cyclones is expected to increase with global warming, which is of concern for developing countries that encompass most of the world's seagrass beds. This study provided a unique and key opportunity to monitor immediate impacts of an extreme disturbance in a region where cyclones rarely hit coastal ecosystems and where local populations remain highly dependent on seagrass meadows. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd


Benson L.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Benson L.,Center for Environment | Glass L.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Jones T.G.,Blue Ventures Conservation | And 3 more authors.
Forests | Year: 2017

Of the numerous ecosystem services mangroves provide, carbon storage is gaining particular attention for its potential role in climate change mitigation strategies. Madagascar contains 2% of the world's mangroves, over 20% of which is estimated to have been deforested through charcoal production, timber extraction and agricultural development. This study presents a carbon stock assessment of the mangroves in Helodrano Fagnemotse in southwest Madagascar alongside an analysis of mangrove land-cover change from 2002 to 2014. Similar to other mangrove ecosystems in East Africa, higher stature, closed-canopy mangroves in southwest Madagascar were estimated to contain 454.92 (±26.58) Mg·C·ha-1. Although the mangrove extent in this area is relatively small (1500 ha), these mangroves are of critical importance to local communities and anthropogenic pressures on coastal resources in the area are increasing. This was evident in both field observations and remote sensing analysis, which indicated an overall net loss of 3.18% between 2002 and 2014. Further dynamics analysis highlighted widespread transitions of dense, higher stature mangroves to more sparse mangrove areas indicating extensive degradation. Harnessing the value that the carbon stored within these mangroves holds on the voluntary carbon market could generate revenue to support and incentivise locally-led sustainable mangrove management, improve livelihoods and alleviate anthropogenic pressures. © 2017 by the authors.


Harris A.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Harris A.,University of Warwick | Manahira G.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Sheppard A.,University of Warwick | And 2 more authors.
Atoll Research Bulletin | Year: 2010

In the 1960s and 1970s the biology and geology of the Grand Récif of Tuléar, (now Toliara) in southwestern Madagascar, was thoroughly studied and reported. Toliara is the largest city in the south of the country, and the Grand Récif offshore provides both artisanal fisheries and coastal protection to the growing regional capital. Substantial research on the comparatively pristine reef was described in a volume of Atoll Research Bulletin in 1978. Since then, published scientific study of this reef has been largely lacking. The present study compares the condition of the Grand Récif of circa 40 years ago, with that seen in a brief resurvey undertaken in 2008, on transects corresponding to some of those documented previously. The trend has been of severe degradation; hard coral cover on the fore-reef slopes has declined substantially, and there has been a near total loss of the "architectural species" in particular. Coral has been replaced to great extent by fleshy algae. Observations also indicate severe decline on the broad reef flat, back reef and lagoon areas. Perhaps most seriously for the local fisheries and human communities, is that the fore reef is almost depleted in reef fish today. Comparisons are made of coral cover, coral morphological types and fish trophic structure with other reefs in southern Madagascar, which are not located near large human populations. Although a rise in mean sea surface temperature has occurred throughout the region of approximately 1°C over this 40 year period, which is probably a contributing cause of decline throughout, the Grand Récif is in much worse condition than most of the more remote reefs with which it is compared. It is suggested that the main reasons for the substantial decline in the Grand Récif over the past 40 years lies in the fact that the region's population has grown substantially, there is a complete lack of any resources management, heavy overfishing, and no pollution control, resulting in massively increased discharges of sewage, sediments and other pollutants. Reef condition today is unrecognisable from that described in the 1970s. Unless far-reaching and effective management interventions are adopted to safeguard the Grand Récif the remaining ecosystem services upon which Toliara and its population depend will soon all but disappear.


Rocliffe S.,University of York | Peabody S.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Samoilys M.,CORDIO East Africa | Hawkins J.P.,University of York
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

In the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), local communities are increasingly assuming responsibility for inshore marine resources either on their own or through collaborative management arrangements with governments or non-state actors. In this paper, we trace the evolution and expansion of community management in the WIO and present the first ever inventory and assessment of the region's locally managed marine areas (LMMAs). We compare the key attributes of these areas to those under government stewardship and assess their relative contributions to progress towards the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) target of 10% of marine and coastal ecological regions to be effectively conserved by 2020. We also explore the legal frameworks that underpin locally managed marine initiatives in Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania to assess the potential for future expansion. A principal finding is that whilst LMMAs protect more than 11,000 square kilometres of marine resource in the WIO, they are hampered by underdeveloped local and national legal structures and enforcement mechanisms. In our recommendations to improve local management, we suggest establishing a network of LMMA practitioners in the WIO region to share experiences and best practice. © 2014 Rocliffe et al.


Chapman J.K.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Anderson L.G.,Independent Researcher | Gough C.L.A.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Harris A.R.,Blue Ventures Conservation
Marine Policy | Year: 2016

Located on the Caribbean coast of Central America and flanked by the second longest barrier reef in the world, Belize is a nation reliant upon marine resources. Each year, the country's predominantly small-scale fisheries generate an estimated US$22 million in revenue – 1.8%of GDP – and employ 3000 people. However, the nation's fishing communities are facing an unprecedented challenge. Existing threats posed by declining fish stocks have been exacerbated by the introduction of the invasive alien red lionfish Pterois volitans in 2008. This Indo-Pacific predator has the potential to cause significant losses to the recruitment of native fish, in turn disrupting coral reef community dynamics in the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Howefver, targeted lionfish fishing may offer a cost effective means to control the invasion, while also creating an alternative livelihood solution and improving food security among Belize's coastal fishing communities. This study summarises the recent history of the lionfish invasion in Belize, describes the multi-sector approach being used to address the invasion, and presents preliminary research summarising the characteristics of invasive alien lionfish in Belize. Data from Belize's nascent ‘lionfishery’ are also presented, demonstrating that demand for lionfish is outweighing supply – largely as a result of awareness-raising initiatives – and highlighting the strong potential for replication of this approach elsewhere in the Caribbean. The study concludes by discussing the barriers and potential solutions to this market-based approach to invasive species management. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd


Gardner C.J.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Gardner C.J.,University of Kent
International Journal of Primatology | Year: 2016

Despite an increasing recognition of the ecosystem services provided by mangroves, we know little about their role in maintaining terrestrial biodiversity, including primates. Madagascar’s lemurs are a top global conservation priority, with 94 % of species threatened with extinction, but records of their occurrence in mangroves are scarce. I used a mixed-methods approach to collect published and unpublished observations of lemurs in mangroves: I carried out a systematic literature search and supplemented this with a targeted information request to 1243 researchers, conservation and tourism professionals, and others who may have visited mangroves in Madagascar. I found references to, or observations of, at least 23 species in 5 families using mangroves, representing >20% of lemur species and >50% of species whose distributions include mangrove areas. Lemurs used mangroves for foraging, sleeping, and traveling between terrestrial forest patches, and some were observed as much as 3 km from the nearest permanently dry land. However, most records were anecdotal and thus tell us little about lemur ecology in this habitat. Mangroves are more widely used by lemurs than has previously been recognized and merit greater attention from primate researchers and conservationists in Madagascar. © 2016 The Author(s)


Tucker B.,University of Georgia | Tsimitamby M.,University of Toliary | Humber F.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Benbow S.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Iida T.,Research Center for Cultural Resources
Human Organization | Year: 2010

International programs for combating food insecurity including the recent FAO "How to Feed the World in 2050: Highlevel Expert Forum" promote agricultural intensification among the main solutions to global hunger. We argue here that hunting and gathering on land and at sea will often result in less food insecurity than farming. In southwestern Madagascar, questionnaire data find farmers more food insecure than neighboring forest foragers and marine foragers. Production data show that farmers produce a greater quantity of food energy, but foragers sell their goods for higher prices resulting in comparable market-valued incomes among all three subsistence modes. A stochastic model finds farming portfolios an order of magnitude more risky (lower z-scores) than foraging portfolios, except when foraging portfolios have low means. This is because farmers experience only three to five harvests per year while foragers may experience 365 harvests. As farmers await future harvests of uncertain quantity, they are more likely than foragers to depend on formal and informal credit. The stochastic model shows that diversification, mixing foraging with farming, can only reduce the risks of farming under limited conditions. We conclude that pressuring foragers to become farmers will increase rather than diminish regional food insecurity.


Harris A.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Mohan V.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Flanagan M.,Blue Ventures Conservation | Hill R.,Blue Ventures Conservation
ORYX | Year: 2012

Human population growth is one of the primary drivers of biodiversity loss. Throughout much of the developing world growth of human populations is occurring in part as a result of a lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services, and this is having profoundly negative impacts on biodiversity and natural resource-dependent livelihoods. We present experiences of the incorporation of sexual and reproductive health services within a pre-existing community-based marine conservation initiative in Madagascar as part of an integrated population, health and environment (PHE) programme. Our results demonstrate the considerable demand for, and lack of social barriers to, the introduction of sexual and reproductive health services in this region. These findings emphasize the mutually beneficial synergies, supporting both public health and conservation objectives, which can be created by integrating sexual and reproductive health services into more conventional biodiversity conservation activities. This PHE approach demonstrates the inextricable link between reproductive health and resource use by providing practical, immediate and lasting benefits to public health, gender equity, food security and biodiversity conservation. © 2012 Fauna & Flora International.


In order to reduce conflict between national laws and local customs and social norms (known as dina), the government of Madagascar has progressively decentralised the governance of natural resources to local levels. Rules regarding resource use within contractual management transfers and co-managed protected areas are defined within dina, which can be legally recognised. In this paper we describe and critically analyse the establishment and enforcement procedures of a dina created to govern resource use within Velondriake, a community-managed marine protected area in southwestern Madagascar. The dina was developed by community members and ratified in a court of law to become legally binding. It has hierarchical enforcement procedures, starting at the village level but with recourse to higher levels should local enforcement fail. We discuss several problems with the dina creation and its enforcement procedures, as well as proposed solutions; these include overcoming social cohesion (fihavanana), contradictions with pre-existing national law, and applying the dina against migrants. We conclude by reviewing the use of dina elsewhere in Madagascar, and argue that dina imposed by external agencies, when not aligned with community aspirations, will result in poor compliance with the rules. Velondriake avoided such problems through a fully participatory, inclusive approach to dina creation. © Gildas Andriamalala and Charlie J. Gardner.


PubMed | University of Hawaii at Manoa, Blue Ventures Conservation and University of Oxford
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Eight years of octopus fishery records from southwest Madagascar reveal significant positive impacts from 36 periodic closures on: (a) fishery catches and (b) village fishery income, such that (c) economic benefits from increased landings outweigh costs of foregone catch. Closures covered ~20% of a villages fished area and lasted 2-7 months.Octopus landings and catch per unit effort (CPUE) significantly increased in the 30 days following a closures reopening, relative to the 30 days before a closure (landings: +718%, p<0.0001; CPUE: +87%, p<0.0001; n = 36). Open-access control sites showed no before/after change when they occurred independently of other management (no ban, n = 17/36). On the other hand, open-access control sites showed modest catch increases when they extended a 6-week seasonal fishery shutdown (ban, n = 19/36). The seasonal fishery shutdown affects the entire region, so confound all potential control sites.In villages implementing a closure, octopus fishery income doubled in the 30 days after a closure, relative to 30 days before (+132%, p<0.001, n = 28). Control villages not implementing a closure showed no increase in income after no ban closures and modest increases after ban closures. Villages did not show a significant decline in income during closure events.Landings in closure sites generated more revenue than simulated landings assuming continued open-access fishing at that site (27/36 show positive net earnings; mean +$305/closure; mean +57.7% monthly). Benefits accrued faster than local fishers time preferences during 17-27 of the 36 closures. High reported rates of illegal fishing during closures correlated with poor economic performance.We discuss the implications of our findings for broader co-management arrangements, particularly for catalyzing more comprehensive management.

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