08 June 2013

Dispatches from the Great Island - Take 5

Just a quick post to re-boot this blog.

I arrived in Tana a couple days ago. I will be in Madagascar through August. One more summer to get to know this island (well, as the last two nights reminded me as I was trying to find more blankets - it's winter here)! While I am settling in and waiting for my bags to arrive (hopefully they are two days behind me...) I realized that there is plenty of interest going on that should have been utilizing this space for.

View from my balcony at Niaouly Hotel overlooking the East end of Avenue de l'Independence

Over the last year, I've been settling into a PhD program at Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. During that time I finished up my thesis from Wisconsin and have been a co-author on two papers that stemmed from work around Ankeniheny-Zahamena. Id like to let you all know what that was about, but for an introduction to the field work that was involved, you can see this post. Hopefully, those posts will be able to function as a wonderful epilogue in lieu of the second chapter that never materialized.

I have begun work on a new project that will be in Maroantsetra. You can check out Dr. Chris Golden's website for tons of information about the area and the work that he has conducted there. I'll be collaborating with him and his team to expand efforts to take a deeper look at forest management institutions and access to forest resources.

I made a quick trip there in January with a couple of faculty members. Ill try to update briefly on my initial impressions from this first trip. I will be looking at issues of access to land and forest resources as they relate to conservation, people's livelihoods, and health outcomes. Ill try to provide some real-time impressions of what some of the points of contention are around Makira Natural Park. You can bet that the REDD funding mentioned in that article is going to be one, but I'll be very interested in what local people think on all things forest and farming.

Madagascar's political crises continues - it's high time to get caught up on some links. For a start, you should definitely be aware of the financial consequences, as presented by the World Bank.

That should take us through the summer. If there is anything in particular you'd like to see here, let me know.