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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

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

Authors' information

Razanatsoa, Estelle
University of Cape Town
Andriantsaralaza, Seheno
University of Antananarivo
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Rakotonarivo, O. Sarobidy
University of Antananarivo
Ratsifandrihamanana, Anitry N.
World Wide Fund for Nature Madagascar (WWF Madagascar)
Randriamiharisoa, Lalatiana
Madagascar National Parks
Ravaloharimanitra, Maholy
Aspinall Foundation Madagascar
Ramahefamanana, Narindra
Missouri Botanical Garden
Tahirinirainy, Dinasoa
Missouri Botanical Garden
Raharimampionona, Jeannie
Missouri Botanical Garden

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land
SDG4 Quality education
SDG17 Partnerships for the goals

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