Six of Madagascar’s seven baobab species are found nowhere else on Earth. Three of these species are endangered and at risk of extinction. In the north, two species (Perrier’s baobab and Diego’s baobab) are restricted to small ranges and tiny populations that are threatened by habitat loss and climate change. These threats are exacerbated by increasing incidents of forest fires and the fact that few seeds in the wild grow to maturity. In the west of the country, meanwhile, Grandidier’s baobab is similarly threatened by fire, but also by the rising international demand for baobab fruit since it was promoted as a superfood in 2010.

Through the Global Trees Campaign, FFI and partner Madagasikara Voakajy have been working with communities in the north and west to protect baobabs in their habitat by stopping baobab logging, reducing fires, planting baobabs in the wild and researching sustainable fruit harvesting rates. Our aim is to continue this work to protect and expand the largest remaining populations and habitats of all three species as well as ensure that community use is sustainable and mutually beneficial. So far, we have worked with three communities to secure over 10,500 hectares of baobab forest in Madagascar, and the communities are already implementing management plans focused on baobab protection.

We are grateful for financial support from Fondation Franklinia and the UK government’s Darwin Initiative.