The Masoala National Park, a World Heritage site, Makira Natural Park, and Antongil Bay comprise the epicenter of Madagascar's unique biodiversity. Known as MaMaBay, this zone contains 20 percent of Madagascar’s biodiversity and encompasses more than one million hectares of land and sea. It contains the largest remaining tract of pristine eastern rainforest in Madagascar as well as a variety of coastal habitats: estuaries, mangroves, rocky habitats, coral reefs, and seagrass beds. MaMaBay supports an estimated 230,000 people, primarily subsistence farmers and fishers, who depend on the essential ecosystem services provided by these habitats.
WCS has been present in the zone since 1993 and the MaMaBay program is built on lessons learnt over the last 20 years. WCS’s conservation actions include a comprehensive field-based system of surveillance, law enforcement monitoring and ecological monitoring; restoration and maintenance of critical forestry corridors; research into habitats and species found in the zone; and strengthening of the Government’s ability to manage and enforce forest and marine resource use regulations.
WCS and its partners strive to develop the landscape as a model for resource conservation and biodiversity protection through better land stewardship linked to improved livelihoods. WCS works in close collaboration with local communities and is developing a network of community based natural resources management sites in the form of a ‘green belt’ around the protected areas. WCS provides support to communities to improve sustainable management of natural resources through diversification of livelihood options and activities to improve human health and welfare. Finally, WCS is taking a leadership role to secure MaMaBay’s financial future, and has developed partnerships with the private sector in the sale of carbon credits from avoided deforestation, ecotourism, and wildlife friendly products.