Partnership in Practice: Making Conservation Work in Madagascar

dc.contributor.authorRichard, Alison
dc.descriptionProfessor Dame Alison Richard is a senior research scientist in the Department of Anthropology and the Franklin Muzzy Crosby Professor Emerita of the Human Environment at Yale University. She received her undergraduate degree in anthropology at Cambridge University and her doctorate from the University of London. She joined Yale University as a faculty member in anthropology in 1972, and served as director of the Peabody Museum of Natural History from 1991 to 1994 and as university provost from 1994 until 2002. Professor Richard was vice chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 2003 to 2010, a position carrying the responsibilities of university president. In recognition of her contributions to higher education, she was appointed a DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) in 2010. Professor Richard is widely known for her research and writings on the evolution of complex social systems among primates. Her work has taken her to Central America, northern Pakistan and, in particular, to the forests of Madagascar. A biological anthropologist, Richard specialized in the demography, ecology, and behavior of the Sifaka lemur (Propithecus verreauxi)—a charismatic primate that lives in the spiny forests of southern Madagascar. She is the author or co-author of over 65 articles and has written or edited several books. One of these, Primates in Nature, is the gold standard for texts introducing students to the fascinating lives and evolutionary history of primates. Her forthcoming book The Sloth Lemur's Song: Madagascar from the Deep Past to the Uncertain Present (2022) integrates personal reflections from working in Madagascar with research on the geology, evolution, archeology, and cultural anthropology of the island. In addition to her research, Professor Richard helped found the Bezà Mahfaly Special Reserve in Southwestern Madagascar in 1975. Established in partnership with local communities, the University of Antananarivo, and Washington University, this 4,600 hectare reserve protects endangered forests and wildlife, and serves as a center for research, training, and education for Malagasy and international students. Alarmed by the rapid rates of deforestation, Professor Richard worked with community partners to design this nature reserve that would both protect species and provide useful resources to the surrounding villages, including economic and educational opportunities.en
dc.description.abstractCommunity-based approaches have gained attention in recent decades as crucial building-blocks for conservation in many regions of the world. But what does it take to make them work? Almost 50 years ago, leaders of a small community in southwest Madagascar joined with academics in Madagascar and the US to launch a partnership with the declared goal of helping people, forests and wildlife in the area flourish together. I trace the gradual development of this partnership from a “bargain struck” between constituencies with very different interests into a broadly shared endeavor. Today, it offers a model for transcending the small scale and limited impact typical of community-based-conservation initiatives, and a glimmer of hope that they can help safeguard the environment in Madagascar and beyond.en
dc.publisherIndiana University William T. Patten Foundationen
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dc.titlePartnership in Practice: Making Conservation Work in Madagascaren


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