Conservation and Environmental Management in Madagascar

Edited by Ivan R. Scales

© 2014 – Routledge

398 pages | 50 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415528771
pub: 2014-03-06
US Dollars$145.00

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About the Book

Madagascar is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet, the result of 160 million years of isolation from the African mainland. More than 80% of its species are not found anywhere else on Earth. However, this highly diverse flora and fauna is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation and the island has been classified one of the world’s highest conservation priorities.

Drawing on insights from geography, anthropology, sustainable development, political science and ecology, this book provides a comprehensive assessment of the status of conservation and environmental management in Madagascar. It describes how conservation organisations have been experimenting with new forms of protected areas, community-based resource management, ecotourism, and payments for ecosystem services. But the country must also deal with pressing human needs. The problems of poverty, development, environmental justice, natural resource use and biodiversity conservation are shown to be interlinked in complex ways. Authors address key questions, such as who are the winners and losers in attempts to conserve biodiversity? And what are the implications of new forms of conservation for rural livelihoods and environmental justice?


"The relations between society and nature in Madagascar are complex and often misunderstood. This book offers new light on this subject by exploring the social, political and economic dimensions of conservation and development challenges."W.M. Adams, Moran Professor of Conservation and Development, University of Cambridge, UK

"The challenges laid down by Scales are a must read for those seeking to understand the current plight of the island and anyone with an interest in the environmental future of Madagascar… It is a timely text that should be required reading for anyone seeking to acquaint themselves with the environmental problems of Madagascar. The work offers very good socio-economic and political background on the island’s conservation history, and, with an eye to the future, the concluding chapter offers suggested research and policy priorities that need to be addressed." - Clive Nuttman in Conservation Biology (2015)

"It tries to look at both the misinformation that has underlain much of the received wisdom on conservation in Madagascar, while also examining in considerable detail the politics of conservation and environmental management… In summary, a useful book." - Bulletin of the British Ecological Society

"The volume is highly interdisciplinary and international, and its overarching concern is the sometimes cooperative, sometimes antagonistic relationship between environmental conservation and human development. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and researchers/faculty."CHOICE, W. Arens, Stony Brook University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Conservation at the Crossroads: Biological Diversity, Environmental Change and Natural Resource Use in Madagascar

Ivan R. Scales

Part 1: Madagascar’s Biological Diversity: From Deep Time to the Arrival of Humans

2. Explaining Madagascar’s Biodiversity

Jörg U. Ganzhorn, Lucienne Wilmé and Jean-Luc Mercier

3. Early Human Settlers and their Impact on Madagascar’s Landscapes

Robert E. Dewar

Part 2: Paradise Lost? The Myths, Narratives and Received Wisdoms at the Heart of Conservation Research and Policy

4. Deforestation in Madagascar: Debates over the Island’s Forest Cover and Challenges of Measuring Forest Change

William J. McConnell and Christian A. Kull

5. The Drivers of Deforestation and the Complexity of Land Use in Madagascar

Ivan R. Scales

Part 3: The Politics of Biodiversity Conservation and Environmental Management

6. A Brief History of the State and the Politics of Natural Resource use in Madagascar

Ivan R. Scales

7. The Roots, Persistence, and Character of Madagascar’s Conservation Boom

Christian A. Kull

8. The Transfer of Natural Resource Management Rights to Local Communities

Jacques Pollini, Neal Hockley, Frank Muttenzer and Bruno Ramamonjisoa

9. Conservation Politics in Madagascar: The Expansion of Protected Areas

Catherine Corson

10. The Durban Vision in practice: Experiences in the Participatory Governance of Madagascar’s New Protected Areas

Malika Virah-Sawmy, Charlie J. Gardner and Nanie A. Ratsifandrihamanana

Part 4: Making Conservation Pay? Incentive-Based Conservation, the Commodification of Madagascar’s nature and Conflicting Views of Landscape and Nature

11. Tourism, Conservation and Development in Madagascar: Moving Beyond Panaceas?

Ivan R. Scales

12. Bioprospecting a Biodiversity Hotspot: The Political Economy of Natural Products Drug Discovery for Conservation Goals in Madagascar

Benjamin D. Neimark and Laura M. Tilghman

13. Incentivising Forest Conservation: Payments for Environmental Services and Reducing Carbon Emissions from Deforestation

Laura Brimont and Cécile Bidaud

14. Contrasting Visions of Nature and Landscapes

Jeffrey C. Kaufmann

15. Conclusion: The Future of Biodiversity Conservation and Environmental Management in Madagascar: Lessons from the Past and Challenges Ahead

Ivan R. Scales

About the Editor

Ivan R. Scales is McGrath Lecturer in Human Geography, St Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge, UK.

About the Series

Earthscan Conservation and Development

Earthscan Conservation and Development
This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to conservation and development, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. It includes textbooks, research monographs and titles aimed at professionals, NGOs and policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Tim Hardwick, Senior Commissioning Editor (

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Ecology
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography