Forest Conservation Program:
Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute's Forest Conservation Program involves long-term monitoring of the forest and its endemic wildlife on Nosy Komba, also known as 'Lemur Island'. Our Forest Conservation Program encompasses various conservation efforts to protect the surrounding forest and its diverse wildlife. Our approach is active restoration and sustainable practices through mangrove reforestation, agroforestry, permaculture, and community education.
Through regular monitoring, we study the diversity and abundance of species within the forest, tracking changes in dynamics, populations, and habitat health. This data is essential in identifying potential threats and developing targeted conservation strategies.
One significant aspect of our forest program is mangrove reforestation, where we work to restore and expand mangrove ecosystems using seedlings on a seasonal basis. Mangroves play a crucial role in coastal protection, providing habitats for various species and sequestering carbon. By engaging in this reforestation effort, you'll help enhance the resilience and ecological value of these vital coastal forests.
Additionally, we incorporate agroforestry and permaculture practices into our conservation approach. Through these sustainable land use techniques, we promote the integration of trees and crops, fostering a harmonious and productive ecosystem. Agroforestry and permaculture not only support local communities by providing food and income opportunities but also contribute to overall forest conservation and soil health.
Education and community involvement are fundamental pillars of our forest program. We conduct community education initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of forest conservation and sustainable practices. Engaging with local residents fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility for the environment, encouraging them to be active stewards of the forests in their region.
By combining forest and wildlife monitoring, mangrove reforestation, agroforestry, permaculture, and community education, the MRCI forest program contributes significantly to the protection and preservation of the highly threatened Sambirano forests in Northwest Madagascar. Together, we strive to ensure the long-term sustainability of this invaluable ecosystem and its precious wildlife.
As Nosy Komba is a volcanic island, there are no roads and the paths through the forest are not always well-trodden and can be steep, rocky and sometimes muddy depending on the season, a good level of physical fitness is required.
Age: Our volunteers range in age from 18 to retirees and everyone in between, though most are in their early to mid-twenties.
Number of Volunteers: MRCI’s research centre at Turtle Cove can accommodate up to 54 volunteers at a time across all programs. There are usually between 10 and 20 volunteers participating in the Forest Conservation program at any given time.
Languages Spoken: All program staff and volunteers must be able to speak, write and understand English. Our program staff and volunteers come from all over the world and speak a myriad of other languages in additional to English. Locally, our operations staff and the people of Madagascar speak Malagasy and some French. Volunteers have the chance to attend free Malagasy lessons offered on camp and learn more about the language and culture in this beautiful country.
Essential info: Volunteers are expected to have their own health insurance. Vaccinations are not typically required to enter Madagascar, however this may vary depending on your travel path. We recommend consulting a travel doctor about vaccinations and medications. Recommended vaccinations for Madagascar include: yellow fever, tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, typhoid, and rabies.
In addition, we recommend carrying preventative agents with you including sun screen, after sun lotion, mosquito repellent, re-hydration supplements, anti-malarial medications, and anything else recommended by your doctor. There is access to good, fairly priced medical care here in country if needed. Due to the hot, humid climate, it is incredibly important to drink enough water. We have filtered drinking water available on camp; just be sure to bring a good reusable bottle.
What Is included in the fee: Forest volunteers receive training on species identification, conducting field surveys, methodology, equipment set up and data collation.
Volunteers also receive:
- Sleeping accommodations for the duration of their volunteer time
- Three meals per day, seven days per week on camp
- Supervision and training by staff
- Overnight hike to a church village high up near the peak of Nosy Komba
Insurance: Volunteers are expected to purchase their own health
- Visa costs
- Personal items
Currency: In Madagascar the official currency is the Malagasy Ariary
(MGA), which can only be exchanged in Madagascar. There are a number VISA ATMs
located in Hellville which volunteers can draw cash from. We do however advise
that you bring some Dollars and Euro’s along with you to purchase the tourist visa upon arrival.
Passport and Visa: All visitors require visas and a one to three month single
entry visa may be obtained on arrival at the airport. We do recommend you check
with the Consulate General as visa requirements can change at any time. A
passport valid for 6 months after date of return is required. Please ensure you
have at least two blank pages available in your passport before commencement of
VISAS 30-Day visa: 35 Euros / 37 USD 60-day visa: 40 Euros / 45 USD
Most nationalities can get a visa upon arrival at the airport in Madagascar or the Madagascar embassy in the country of departure. You can purchase either a 30 or 60-day visa. There are no ATMs or credit card facilities at the airports so you will need to bring enough cash to pay for your visa when you land. The visa costs are as follows: * Visas may be extended to 90 days for $75 once in-country Due to its structure, this program is classified as a tourist trip. Volunteers participate on a project for three months or less, work an average of three to five hours daily (not full-time), and do not receive any pay or free accommodation/meals in compensation for work. That qualifies these types of trips as “tourist” trips, therefore, we recommend you select “tourism” as your reason for travel on your visa. Other visa types may be available, however, they are often unnecessary, expensive and time-consuming.
What to bring along:
Optional Items for
- Personal Items - Essential Items for all Volunteers
waterproof rain jacket
- Light long-sleeved sweatshirt/ jumper/ fleece
- Trousers (suitable for going into the forest)
- Swimming costume/bikini/board shorts
- Walking boots or good trainers /sneakers
- Day pack (waterproof)
- Dry bag/ziplock bags that will keep items dry
- Lightweight single person mosquito net
- Cotton sleeping bag liner and/or single sheet & pillow
- Sleeping bag if coming in the cooler months (June-August)
- Towel or sarong
- Toiletries (soap, shampoo, razor, tampons, toothpaste,
- Sunscreen (water-resistant, preferably biodegradable)
- Insect repellent
- Head torch (with rechargeable batteries)
- Photocopy of passport, travel insurance details, dive
qualifications (if relevant) and other important travel documents
- Debit card/credit card
- Spending money
- Solar Panel Charger
- Personal Medical Kit
(example items: Anti-malarial tablets; Paracetamol / Ibuprofen; Antihistamine pills / cream; Rehydration tablets / sachets; Immodium; Multivitamins; Antiseptic cream or spray; Motion sickness pills if prone; Bandage / Plasters; Dressings / Micropore tape; After sun lotion or gel;
- Battery pack (to use in conjunction with your solar panel)
- Mobile phone (you can buy a local SIM card for around US$10)
- A padlock to secure personal items
- Camera (waterproof)
- Water bottle
- A nice set of clothes if you want to go out for dinner or
- Rash vest
- Talcum powder
- Treats/food difficult to get in Madagascar
- Travel guide (many volunteers find Lonely Planet to be very
helpful for preparation and once they are in Madagascar)
HEALTH CONDITIONS We kindly request that all volunteers inform our volunteer coordinator and senior staff of any health conditions, mental illnesses, disabilities, or other relevant information that may affect their participation in camp activities. Please be assured that any such information will be kept strictly confidential. It is important for us to have this information to ensure that we provide fair treatment and ensure your safety during your stay on camp.
INTERNET Wi-Fi is not available on camp, however, there is Wi-Fi access in the neighbouring village of Ampang, about a half-hour hike from camp. Volunteers can purchase a local sim card in Hellville along with 2GB of data for $5.
MOBILE PHONES Volunteers can bring their mobile phones and purchase a local SIM card and credit for calling and data upon arrival. If their phone’s SIM is locked, they have the option of purchasing a local phone. This is great for keeping in touch with local staff, other volunteers and loved ones at home. Once you have purchased a SIM card and data package, you can access the internet via cell service in most places on Nosy Be and Nosy Komba, including camp. With enough credit loaded on, you can make both domestic and international calls. The country code for calling Madagascar is +261.
ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES The most common type of wall plug in Madagascar is the typical European rounded twoprong plug (Type C) and the rounded two-prong plug with a hole for the male grounding pin (Type E). The voltage is 20V and the frequency is 50Hz.