Projects tagged #Madagascar

  1. Mapping recent deforestation in northeast Madagascar


    Partners: Wildlife Conservation Society, Carnegie Institution for Science, World Wildlife Fund, University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University Center for the Environment

    Since the onset of a political crisis in 2009, there have been widespread and increasing reports of illegal activities in Madagascar’s national parks, including deforestation, logging of precious hardwoods, mining, and poaching of endangered species. From 2008 to 2009, for example, trade records show that exports of rosewood (Dalbergia spp.) from Madagascar to China, the world’s largest consumer of Malagasy hardwoods, nearly tripled. This increase is generally attributed to illegal logging in Masoala and Marojejy protected areas in northeastern Madagascar following a transfer of presidential power in March 2009, which has been widely characterized as a “coup d’état”.

    Despite the attention this issue has received in the press, since the coup there have been few attempts to quantify the rate and magnitude of these changes in Madagascar's national parks. This is due to the fact that these areas are often extremely remote, and many of the changes to the forest are too small to be detected by traditional remote sensing methods.

    In this study we demonstrate new methods for mapping deforestation and small-scale forest disturbance in Masoala national park. We find the rate of forest change in 2010-2011 within the study area (1.27%) to be higher than the most recently published annual deforestation rate for all of Madagascar. This result is particularly alarming given that Masoala has the highest level of legal forest protection in Madagascar, and highlights an important and persistent problem within Madagascar’s largest national park.

    See full study published in Tropical Conservation Science.

    Tags: monitoring, Madagascar, CLASlite, deforestation, forest disturbance, illegal logging, protected areas

    Posted almost 8 years ago.
  2. REBIOMA maps


    Partners: Wildlife Conservation Society, University of California, Berkeley

    This map application shows a snapshot of biodiversity data derived from species distribution models hosted on the REBIOMA data portal. This is a prototype of mapping and data interaction tools we are working to integrate on top of the data portal.

    The is a simple application written in Rails, html and javascript, with a CartoDB hosted spatial table, backed by a postgres database on Heroku. The code is available on GitHub.

    We model species distributions for three eras from public and private occurrence data uploaded by many individuals and partner institutions.

    After validation and review of the occurrence data by teams of taxonomic experts, we use MaxEnt to model species distributions from the database, using forest cover and WorldClim climate data for 1950, 2000 and 2080 as predictors. For 2080, we assume that forest cover remains the same as it was mapped in 2000 (an optimistic scenario). We then apply a presence threshold to each model, and use the result to build the map of species richness and a species list for each era, shown here. Richness and species lists are calculated on a 5x5 km grid.

    REBIOMA is a joint project Wildlife Conservation Society Madagascar, and the University of California Berkeley with support from the MacArthur Foundation and the JRS Biodiversity Foundation. For more information, please see the project page, data portal, and help pages.

    Tags: biodiversity informatics, Madagascar, REBIOMA, web mapping

    Posted almost 8 years ago.
  3. Marine spatial planning, Madagascar


    Partners: Wildlife Conservation Society, University of California, Berkeley

    The Government of Madagascar has committed to increase marine protected area coverage by over one million hectares. To assist this process, we compared four methods for marine spatial planning of Madagascar's west coast. Input data for each method was drawn from the same variables: fishing pressure, exposure to climate change, and biodiversity (habitats, species distributions, biological richness, and biodiversity value). The first method compares visual color classifications of primary variables, the second uses binary combinations of these variables to produce a categorical classification of management actions, the third is a target-based optimization using Marxan, and the fourth is conservation ranking with Zonation. We present results from each method, and compare the latter three approaches for spatial coverage, biodiversity representation, fishing cost and persistence probability.

    With this work, we show that methods based on Zonation and a simple combination of variables can produce results comparable to Marxan for species representation and catch losses, demonstrating the value of comparing alternative approaches during initial stages of the planning process. Choosing an appropriate approach ultimately depends on scientific and political factors including representation targets, likelihood of adoption, and persistence goals.

    To read more, see full article published in PLOS ONE

    Tags: conservation planning, Madagascar, Marxan

    Posted almost 8 years ago.
  4. REBIOMA data portal


    Partners: Wildlife Conservation Society, University of California, Berkeley

    The mission of the REBIOMA web portal is to serve quality-labeled, up-to-date species occurrence data and environmental niche models for Madagascar’s flora and fauna, both marine and terrestrial. REBIOMA is a project of WCS-Madagascar and UC Berkeley. The REBIOMA Data Portal address is

    REBIOMA serves species occurrence data for marine and terrestrial regions of Madagascar. Following data upload, data is automatically validated against a geographic mask and a taxonomic authority. At upload, data providers can decide whether their data will be public, private, or shared only with selected collaborators. Data reviewers can add quality labels to individual data records, allowing selection of data for modeling and conservation assessments according to quality. Data users can query data in numerous ways (see simple and advanced search). REBIOMA also produces and serves environmental niche models for current and future climate scenarios for terrestrial and marine species.

    Tags: biodiversity informatics, Madagascar, data portal, biodiversity, REBIOMA

    Posted almost 8 years ago.