Ten years into the marshes – Hapalemur alaotrensis conservation, one step forward and two steps back?


  • Antje Rendigs Madagascar Wildlife Conservation, Lot 14433 Atsimondrova, Ambatondrazaka
  • Lena M. Reibelt Madagascar Wildlife Conservation, Lot 14433 Atsimondrova, Ambatondrazaka; University of Hildesheim, Ecology and Environmental Education Group, Institute of Biology and Chemistry, Marienburger Platz 22, 31141 Hildesheim, Germany
  • Fidimalala B. Ralainasolo Madagascar Wildlife Conservation, Lot 14433 Atsimondrova, Ambatondrazaka; Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, BP 8511, Antananarivo, Madagascar
  • Jonah H. Ratsimbazafy Madagascar Wildlife Conservation, Lot 14433 Atsimondrova, Ambatondrazaka; Groupe d’Etude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar (GERP), Ankatso, Antananarivo, Madagascar
  • Patrick O. Waeber Madagascar Wildlife Conservation, Lot 14433 Atsimondrova, Ambatondrazaka; ETH Zurich, Ecosystems Management, Forest Management and Development Group, Universitaetstrasse 16, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland


Alaotra, Hapalemur alaotrensis, bandro, natural resource, wildlife, marshland, wicked problem, zones humides, ressources naturelles, écotourisme, ecotourism, livelihoods, moyens de subsistance, environmental education, éducation à l'environnement


Natural resource management problems typically involve a multitude of stakeholders with diverse sets of needs and interests, and often conflicting worldviews in an environment with growing uncertainty. Such problems are termed “wicked” problems, where there are no right or wrong solutions, only more or less acceptable ones. In the case of Lake Alaotra, growing agricultural pressures have a negative impact on the wetland biodiversity and especially on the Alaotra gentle lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis) restricted to these marshlands. The species survival is highly uncertain because of increased habitat loss caused mainly by marshland fires. The conservation work for this unique lemur is complex and complicated and requires the involvement and collaboration of decision-making institutions, NGOs, universities and riverine communities. From the inception of projects to their implementation phase, all parties need clearly defined responsibilities and transparency in communication in order to run projects successfully. This article describes the approach that Madagascar Wildlife Conservation has been implementing during the past ten years at Lake Alaotra, discussing the plan of action and challenges for environmental education, ecotourism and alternative livelihoods.



Les problèmes de gestion des ressources naturelles impliquent généralement une multitude d’intervenants avec divers ensembles de besoins et d’intérêts, et souvent, les visions du monde contradictoires dans un environnement avec une incertitude croissante. Ces problèmes sont appelés problèmes sournois, ‘wicked problems’ en anglais, où il n’y a pas de bonnes ou de mauvaises solutions, seules plus ou moins acceptables. Dans le cas du lac Alaotra, la croissance des pressions agricoles a un impact négatif sur la biodiversité des zones humides, et en particulier sur l’Alaotra lémurien douce (Hapalemur alaotrensis) limitée à ces marais. La survie de l’espèce est très incertaine en raison de l’augmentation de la perte d’habitat causée principalement par les feux de marais. Les travaux de conservation pour ce lémurien unique sont complexes et compliqués, et nécessitent l’implication et la collaboration sur la prise de décision des institutions, des ONG, des universités et des communautés riveraines. Cela implique que toutes les parties, depuis la création de projets à leur phase de mise en œuvre, partagent un terrain d’entente avec les avantages clairement définis de pouvoir de décision, les responsabilités et la transparence dans la communication. Madagascar Wildlife Conservation a travaillé sur le lac depuis plus de dix ans, y compris l’éducation environnementale, l'écotourisme et les moyens de subsistance alternatifs dans le plan d’action. Cet article met en évidence l’approche adoptée et examine ses défis.


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