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Madagascar case study

The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust have been working in Madagascar for 25 years. In 2003 Durrell started to implement a community payment scheme aimed at incentivizing the conservation of threatened species in sites in western Madagascar. They were at the forefront of introducing such payment schemes in a community-context. Over the years they have used this approach to generate community benefits and conservation outcomes across many regions of Madagascar. The concept of PES has moved on since Durrell introduced these schemes and they want to adapt and develop their approach. There is spreading disquiet about the appropriateness of the market-based terminology in payment schemes aimed at influencing community actions. Increasingly PES schemes (such as the one in Bolivia) use terminology such as 'reciprocal water agreements' rather than 'payments for ecosystem services'. There is concern that the market approach can 'crowd out' intrinsic motivations. Durrell are interessted in research to explore how best to encourage community participation in conservation.

In our project we are looking at a new conservation and development project being instigated by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in partnership with the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust focused around the re-introduction of the Madagascar Pochard, Aythya innotata, in Northern Madagascar. The Madagascar pochard was thought extinct until the late 1990s when it was rediscovered on a single lake in northern Madagascar. It is now to be reintroduced into another areas: Lac Sofia, one of the last remnants of the Bealanana wetlands complex.

As this is a new project in an area with previous very little engagement from conservation organisations, it gives us the opportunity to explore the effect of delivering both conservation and development goals from baseline conditions. A control site at Lac Antafiandakana has been selected, also within the Bealanana district.