Pioneering the thinking about climate change adapted MPA management in Madagascar
In northwest Madagascar, climate change is real, being felt by the population through changes in rainfall, rising sea levels and the increased frequency of strong winds. The establishment and wise management of marine protected areas (MPA) can assume a pivotal role as a first local-level response to climate change impacts.
In Nosy Hara MPA, WWF is working with Madagascar National Parks, who is managing the site, to integrate climate change adaptation into the MPA management plan and monitoring protocols for increased resilience of both the site’s mangrove and coral reef ecosystems and of the adjacent fishery dependent communities.
Nosy Hara is one of the first protected areas in the country to incorporate climate change aspects into its management, and the lessons learnt will be used to adapt the management of existing and inform the establishment of new national PAs under the Madagascar protected area network.
The lack of long-term climate data, especially local data, makes it difficult to identify climate change impacts and their past and current implications on livelihoods and natural resources.
WWF has met this challenge by relying on the Climate Witness tool, which utilizes community surveys, including mapping, timeline, species inventory and seasonal calendar exercises, to identify climate related developments in all these areas over time. This allows for the collection of long-term information on climate change impacts and the identification of adaptation measures that have already been implemented by drawing from the collective memory of the community.
Social and ecological vulnerability assessments have been conducted, allowing the identification of vulnerable areas and communities. Building on this information, WWF and Madagascar National Parks will identify and implement appropriate adaptation measures to strengthen the resilience of these communities and ecosystems. Recommendations for adapting community livelihoods to the changing conditions are under development, based on extensive participatory consultations. The MPA’s management plan will be revised to ensure that areas of high ecological resiliency are well protected through the MPA’s zoning scheme and that climate threats are well addressed.