Home Institution

DePauw University

Publication Date

Fall 2009

Program Name

Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management


Local communities have long played an integral role in the realization of conservation goals and the success of protected areas in Madagascar. Since the appearance of human civilizations approximately 2,000 years ago (Brown 1995), the physical landscape of the island has undergone processes of adaptation to the practices of Malagasy people, while Malagasy cultures have in turn molded to fit their surroundings. The coevolution of nature and culture has produced a delicate environmental situation where human practices exploit but also conserve important natural resources, a situation that has been historically misinterpreted as intentional environmental destruction on the part of local communities (Talbot 2009). Continued pressure, from international as well as domestic actors, to preserve Madagascar’s well-enumerated biodiversity and unique habitat (Mittermeier et al 1998) has often resulted in the neglect of community development. In a country with as unique an ethnodiversity as its biodiversity, nature and culture have become increasingly at odds, to the detriment of both parties.


Anthropology | Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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