A global biodiversity hotspot, Madagascar suffers from high rates of deforestation and poverty. There has been great interest in targeting incentives for conservation (e.g., carbon credit payments) in areas that will preserve biodiversity and ecosystem services. We initially modeled carbon sequestration and storage and sediment regulation services from forests in Madagascar, and especially their benefits for downstream rice farmers in providing sediment-free water. ARIES’ initial marine ecosystem services models also developed for Madagascar, focusing on coastal storm regulation and subsistence fisheries. Both of these services are critical for Madagascar, due to its reliance on fisheries for protein and its susceptibility to tropical storms forming in the southwest Indian Ocean. When ARIES’ terrestrial and marine ecosystem service flow models are linked, they will provide an unprecedented view of the connections between human well-being and linked marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
The Madagascar ecosystem services models primarily run on global terrestrial and marine datasets, supplemented by local data assembled by ARIES partners at Conservation International who have previously worked on ecosystem services. Based on Wendland et al.’s (2010) work on manually mapping ecosystem services in Madagascar as well as a literature review and discussions with experts, we developed probabilistic models of ecosystem service provision, use, and flows for carbon and sediment Madagascar. Based on a workshop conducted by UNEP-WCMC to discuss mapping and modeling marine ecosystem service flows, we assembled data and constructed models for subsistence fisheries and coastal storm regulation in Madagascar. With completion of ecosystem service flow models as part of ARIES’ 2011 beta release, we are now positioned to develop linked marine-terrestrial ecosystem service flow models for Madagascar, which can then be extended and tested in other coastal and marine environments.
Wendland, K.J., M. Honzak, R. Portela, B. Vitale, S. Rubinoff, and J. Randrianarisoa. 2010. Targeting and implementing payments for ecosystem services: Opportunities for bundling biodiversity conservation with carbon and water services in Madagascar. Ecological Economics 69:2093-2107.