Tenure challenges to implementing forest landscape restoration in northwestern Madagascar

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Key messages

  • Madagascar has established ambitious goals for restoring its degraded forests under the Bonn Challenge; tenure rights and tenure security are likely to affect landholders’ willingness to invest in forest landscape restoration practices.
  • In northwestern Madagascar (Boeny region), tenure challenges in three major local land categories (forests, savannas and seasonally flooded bottomlands) need to be considered; each category has particular tenure issues associated with it.
  • The main sources of tenure insecurity for forests are: (a) the undermining of local forest management groups and (b) tensions between the Forest Service and communes over allocation rights to forested lands.
  • In the savannas, reforestation is emerging as a way for migrants to claim land through the state, thereby bypassing traditional authorities. While tenure security is strengthened for migrants, there is a long-term risk of conflict as the area available for grazing lands and upland crops declines.
  • In the bottomlands, women in some communities are working to obtain primary rights to land; having those rights will provide a greater incentive to plant trees since secondary rights holders are typically prohibited from doing so.
  • Tenure varies across the different land types; these differences and their impacts on landholders’ willingness to invest in land conservation are important to understand for the implementation of forest landscape restoration.


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