Protecting Nature's Hotspots for people and prosperity

Madagascar and Indian Ocean Islands

Tab 1


Black-and-white ruffed lemurBlack-and-white ruffed lemur. © Conservation International/photo by Sterling Zumbrunn

Located about 400 kilometers from the east coast of Africa, the island of Madagascar boasts plant and animal species that have evolved long in isolation from other land masses. In addition to Madagascar, the Madagascar and Indian Ocean Islands biodiversity hotspot includes the independent nations of Seychelles, the Comoros and Mauritius.

Our support focuses on maintaining the natural wealth of Madagascar, which includes tropical rain forest in the east, dry deciduous forests in the west and a unique spiny desert in the south. The island also hosts high mountain ecosystems characterized by forest with moss and lichens.

These critical ecosystems shelter at least 12,000 species of plants, 90 percent of which are found nowhere else. Often considered a mini-continent, Madagascar is famous for its diversity of chameleons and more than 50 different kinds of lemurs—unique primates found only here. New species are also being discovered at a rapid rate: 22 new mammal species and subspecies have been described in just the past 15 years.

While sheltering extraordinary concentrations of biological diversity, Madagascar has lost as much as 80 percent of its original forest cover. Slash-and-burn agriculture, mining and logging are among the main causes. Wetlands, including lakes, rivers and marshes, are also under threat from transformation to rice fields.​​​​​​​​​​

Tab 2


Forest in Mantadia National Park, Madagascar
Forest in Mantadia National Park, Madagascar. © CI/Photo by Sterling Zumbrunn

The CEPF niche for investment has been formulated through an inclusive participatory process involving the national, subregional and expert consultations previously outlined. The niche is also based on a geographical prioritization process to reduce the number of KBAs and corridors to a level commensurate with the funding that is likely to be available. This process has involved the interplay of several criteria, namely biodiversity priority, past and current donor investment levels, protection status, significant threats and provision of ecosystem services.

The CEPF niche in the hotspot has been defined to take advantage of CEPF‘s ability to provide variable levels of funding, in particular with its small grants mechanism. In this context, the niche would enable CEPF to support the emergence and strengthening of local organizations that could work toward the implementation of site-based conservation actions, maximizing the chances of local ownership, and work hand in hand with other economic sectors and government to support mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation in development policies and business practices. CEPF is also ideally positioned to support concrete regional collaborations among the civil society organizations of the hotspot, maximizing the wealth and diversity of experiences developed—so far in isolation—within the hotspot and using the heterogeneity of the regions to their benefit, fostering the emergence of a regional conservation community.

In terms of geographical focus, the consultations resulted in a plan to primarily focus on seven priority corridors or clusters in Madagascar, plus three other sites, totaling 38 priority KBAs in Madagascar, and 19, 9 and 12 priority KBAs for the Comoros, Mauritius and the Seychelles, respectively. Most of these sites focus on ecosystems that have extraordinary biodiversity but so far have been underfunded relative to other ecosystems: the wetlands and freshwater bodies, the dry forests, and coastal and near marine areas. French overseas Départements and territories (Réunion Island, Mayotte, and the Scattered Islands or Iles Eparses) were not included in the prioritization process as they are not eligible to receive CEPF funds.

Tab 3

1.  Empower local communities to protect and manage biodiversity in priority key biodiversity areas. 1.1  Provide the necessary technical and financial support in designing and implementing natural resources conservation and management measures adapted to the local context, taking into consideration local development needs.
1.2  Support the development of economic models to improve both livelihoods and biodiversity conservation.
1.3  Build the technical, administrative and financial capacity of local grassroots organizations and their partners.
2.  Enable civil society to mainstream biodiversity and conservation into political and economic decisionmaking. 2.1  Support local research institutions to improve basic knowledge on biodiversity of priority KBAs and corridors.
2.2  Support civil society to disseminate biodiversity information and influence political and economic decision-makers in favor of biodiversity and conservation priorities.
2.3  Explore partnerships with private sector stakeholders to promote sustainable practices that deliver positive impacts for conservation.
3.  Strengthen civil society capacity at local and regional levels through training, exchanges and regional cooperation.
3.1  Foster the emergence of a new generation of conservation professionals and organizations by small grants assistance for technical and practical training.
3.2  Encourage exchanges and partnerships between civil society organizations to strengthen conservation knowledge, organizational capacity, and management and fundraising skills.
4.  Provide strategic leadership and effective coordination of CEPF investment through a regional implementation team. 4.1  Make operational and coordinate the allocation and monitoring process of the CEPF grants to ensure effective implementation of the strategy.
4.2  Foster the emergence of a conservation community beyond institutional and political boundaries to achieve conservation objectives.

Tab 4

Madagascar and Indian Ocean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot


Conservation Outcomes in Madagascar, 2014 (PDF - 8.2 MB)

Forest Cover and Change data on CI's Learning Network: Madagascar c.1990-c.2000-C.2005 (WinZip File - 37 MB)




More Maps

Madagascar Vegetation Map (PDF - 25 MB), 2007. Explore the interactive version of this map and learn more on the project Web site. ​

Tab 5





  • Annual Portfolio Overview, February 2015 – June 2015
    English​ (PDF - 298 KB)​

  • Annual Portfolio Overview, July 2015 – June 2016
    English​ (PDF - 680 KB)


Initial Investment

  • Ecosystem Profile, 2000
    English (PDF - 362 KB) | French (PDF - 390 KB)​

  • Program for Consolidation, Madagascar & Indian Ocean Islands Hotspot, June 2009
    English (PDF - 47 KB) 

  • GEF Focal Point Endorsement
    Madagascar, December 2000​ (PDF - 434 KB)​


  • Annual Portfolio Overview, January 2014
    English​ (PDF - 590 KB)

  • Annual Portfolio Overview, August 2011
    English (PDF - 290 KB)

  • Assessing Five Years of CEPF Investment in Madagascar, December 2006
    English (PDF - 407 KB) | French (PDF - 320 KB)

  • CEPF and Poverty Reduction: A Review of the CEPF Madagascar Portfolio, 
    December 2006
    English (PDF - 720 KB) 

  • Portfolio Overview, as of March 2005 
    English (PDF - 198 KB)
    - Full related briefing book
    English (PDF - 3.3 MB) 

  • Portfolio review, September 2004
    English (PDF - 494 KB)

  • Project Final Reports
    Reports compiled by project leaders detailing final results and lessons learned
    View reports

Songadina, Bulletin trimestrial de CI-Madagascar

  • Songadina, julliet-septembre 2012
    French​​ (PDF - 3.4 MB)
  • Songadina, octobre-décembre 2011
    French (PDF - 2.7 MB)
  • Songadina, octobre-décembre 2010
    French (PDF - 2.5 MB)
  • Songadina, juillet-septembre 2010
    French (PDF - 1.7 MB)
  • Songadina, avril-juin, 2010
    French (PDF - 1.2 MB)
  • Songadina, janvier-mars 2010
    French (PDF - 1.4 MB)
  • Songadina, octobre-décembre 2009
    French (PDF - 670 KB)
  • Songadina, juillet-septembre 2009
    French (PDF - 1.3 MB)
  • Songadina, avril-juin 2009
    French (PDF - 670 KB)

Tab 6

Fast Facts

​Status: Active

Initial investment:
  • $4.25 million
  • 2001-2006
  • 40 grants
  • $1.4 million
  • 2009-2012
  • 10 grants
  • $7.5 million
  • 2015-2020
Recent newsletters
NIO - News from Indian Ocean RIT​
Regional Resources
​​​​2014 Ecosystem Profile
English (PDF - 7.1 MB)
French (PDF - 7.5 MB)​

Ecosystem Profile Summary Brochure
English​ (PDF - 2.5 MB)​
- French​ (PDF - 3.3 MB)

RIT Website: Tany Meva Foundation​

Regional Documents

Project Final Reports: Project leaders detail results and lessons learned​​