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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Fostering local involvement for biodiversity conservation in tropical regions: Lessons from Madagascar during the COVID-19 pandemic

Razanatsoa, Estelle; Andriantsaralaza, Seheno; Holmes, Sheila M.; Rakotonarivo, O. Sarobidy; Ratsifandrihamanana, Anitry N.; Randriamiharisoa, Lalatiana; Ravaloharimanitra, Maholy; Ramahefamanana, Narindra; Tahirinirainy, Dinasoa; Raharimampionona, Jeannie


Tropical ecosystems host a large proportion of global biodiversity and directly support the livelihoods of many of the world's poorest, and often marginalized, people through ecosystem goods and services and conservation employment. The coronavirus pandemic has challenged existing conservation structures and management but provides an opportunity to re-examine strategies and research approaches across the tropics to build resilience for future crises. Based on the personal experiences of conservation leaders, managers, and researchers from Madagascar during this period, we discuss the coping strategies of multiple biodiversity conservation organizations during the coronavirus pandemic. We highlight the vital role of local communities in building and maintaining resilient conservation practices that are robust to global disruptions such as the COVID-19 crisis. We argue that the integration of local experts and communities in conservation, research, and financial decision-making is essential to a strong foundation for biodiversity conservation in developing countries to stand up to future environmental, political, and health crises. This integration could be achieved through the support of training and capacity building of local researchers and community members and these actions would also enhance the development of strong, equitable long-term collaborations with international communities. Equipped with such capacity, conservationists and researchers from these regions could establish long-term biodiversity conservation strategies that are adapted to local context, and communities could flexibly balance biodiversity and livelihood needs as circumstances change, including weathering the isolation and financial challenges of local or global crises.


biodiversity conservation; capacity building; crisis management; equity and inclusivity; local communities; local leadership; Madagascar; tropical regions

Published in

2021, Volume: 53, number: 4, pages: 994-1003
Publisher: WILEY

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
    SDG4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
    SDG17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

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