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Madagascar: nature’s treasure chest

Update: Since 2022, Rapunzel donates the HAND IN HAND donation (previously HAND IN HAND Fund) to the RAPUNZEL One World Organic Foundation.

The goal of the nature organization Naturefund e.V. is to protect Madagascar’s unique flora and at the same time provide farmers with an income. 80% of the plants on the world’s fourth largest island are endemic. That means the vast majority of the 12,000 plant species exist only in this one place.

In order to protect the especially rare trees and plants, the Naturefund project takes a two-pronged approach. First, while carrying out reforestation, the land is also used for farming. Thus, melons and rice, for example, are grown between the saplings. Export products like vanilla, cinnamon, coffee or cacao also thrive in these forest gardens.

Part of the project involves the development of a seed data bank. With the support of the Hand in Hand-Fund, the successes in Madagascar’s subtropical southwest will be implemented elsewhere in the tropical islands by Naturefund along with its partner, the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG).

When the inhabitants learn to live both from and with nature, it could halt a destructive development. As in many other parts of the world, large swaths of forests in Madagascar were cleared for farming and the harvesting of charcoal. Only 10% of the original vegetation is still intact. Thus the survival of this bright and shimmering plant and animal world with its baobabs, strepsirrhinis, tortoises and chameleons is hanging by a silk thread.


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