project news

Volunteers essential to conservation

News item submitted by Frontier
News item dated 26 May 2009

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New research carried out by ex Frontier staff has shown the importance of volunteer work to conservation in one of the world’s most threatened areas.

Work published by Neil D’Cruze, David Henson, Annette Olsson and David Emmett, all of whom worked on the Frontier-Madagascar programme, has highlighted gaps in existing research on reptiles and amphibians in Madagascar. These animals are an important group to study as their abundance can often serve as a health indicator of other species in the area. Their investigation, published in the journal Herpetological Review, stresses the need for more research to be carried out.

One important point made by the study was the importance of volunteers to field survey work. The reason for this is due to Madagascar’s considerable financial, labor and training constraints. Help from volunteers is one of the only viable options for countries in these situations.

Madagascar is home to an incredible array of wildlife, 80% of which are found only on the island. However, Madagascar is also suffering high levels of habitat destruction and species extinctions which make it of great conservation concern.

New species continue to be discovered in Madagascar each year but the increased rate of habitat loss could greatly impact our understanding of the diversity in Madagascan habitats. Volunteers are urgently needed to help with the collection of vital data that can help save threatened habitats through the use of protected areas.

Read more about our Madagascar forest project