Visit of PI Ute Radespiel to forest fragments in the Mariarano region (June 2018)

PI Ute Radespiel just visited her team in northwestern Madagascar, where they currently study the mouse lemur and small rodent populations inhabiting the remaining forest fragments of dry deciduous and riverine forest in the Mariarano region.

View on one of the visited forest fragments from the savannah matrix that is interspersed with palm trees (photo: U. Radespiel)

It is the beginning of the second big field season as part of the INFRAGECO research activities. She found the team well settled under two big mango trees at the edge of a small village of 21 inhabitants next to the river Mariarano.

The INFRAGECO team in front of their camp site (photo: U. Radespiel)

The team has already trapped and released more than 150 mouse lemurs (Microcebus ravelobensis and M. murinus) and several Eliurus sp. and Rattus sp. in eight sites over the last weeks, two of which in the continuous forest next by.

A mouse lemur exiting the trap at dusk (photo: U. Radespiel)

Alarmingly, the team also encountered multiple human disturbances in the forests, among them tree cutting for charcoal production, selective wood extraction, maciba collection, but also substantial deforestation activities.

A charcoal production site: pile of wood waiting to be transformed into charcoal after complete packaging (photo: U. Radespiel)

The fragments lie outside the protected zone of Mariarano and are therefore very vulnerable to external threats. However, the local villagers were very friendly and welcoming and helped the team with guiding services and provisioning of water and food. The four weeks in this camp site are now already over and the team will now move to the next camp several kilometers away.

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