Benefex Mariarano Reforestation
Benefex's Designated Site
The restoration area covers a total of 1,060 hectares of mangrove forest that lines the banks of the Mariarano Estuary, northeast of the port city of Mahajanga, Madagascar.
Mariarano is a thriving rural municipality with a population of approximately 2,000 people. In addition to the usual activities that provide income, such as the cultivation of crops and small businesses, the community of Mariarano additionally benefits from the presence of tourists and scientific researchers who come to observe the forest.
Exploitation pressure from areas as far away as the coastal city of Mahajanga has increased over time, and easy access across the ocean has enabled wood extraction.
Degradation of the mangrove ecosystem along the Mariarano Estuary leaves coastal communities vulnerable to storms and cyclones due to the lack of storm and erosion control that mangroves’ deep root systems normally would provide.
Other ecosystem services, such as breeding and nursery habitats for fish and shellfish species, are threatened, resulting in a loss of livelihood for residents of the region.
The estuary serves as a nursery for fish species and allows for the harvesting of crabs and other marine products. This unique site contains diverse fauna and mangrove forests that have not yet been sufficiently studied scientifically and must be protected from further exploitation.
As recently as April 2022, a new species of the genus Belonogaster, which belongs to a large genus of Afrotropical wasps, was discovered in the Mariarano mangrove and dry-deciduous complex and is currently being described.
This area is also a hotspot for birds and provides shelter for several species, including the endemic Madagascar Scops Owl (Otus rutilus) and the Hook-billed Vanga (Vanga curvirostris). Lemur species observed in this project include the common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus) and the critically endangered Coquerel's sifaka (Propithecus coquereli).
🐒 Home to 2 endangered lemur species
👨👩👦👦 2,000 Local Population
📐 1,060 hectares