1.         Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Madagascar) (N 1257)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2007

Criteria  (ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2010-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Corrective measures identified

Corrective measures will be indentified together with the State Party by the World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission (planned for May 2011) .

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1257/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2000-2010)
Total amount approved: USD 155,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1257/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: 2005-2007: USD 1,140,000 and 2007-2009: USD 750,000 for the Preparation of the nomination file and development of certain management tools supported through the Madagascar World Heritage programme, with funding from the United Nations Foundation, Conservation International and the Nordic World Heritage Foundation.

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Encroachment;

b) Fire;

c) Hunting and poaching;

d) Artisanal mining;

e) Illegal logging;

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1257/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 12 February 2011, a report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party. This report contains information on the status of illegal logging of rosewood (Dalbergia) and ebony (Diospyros) species in Masoala and Marojejy National Parks, two components of this serial property consisting of 6 National Parks, but provides limited data on the direct and indirect impacts of the illegal logging crisis on the property’s outstanding universal value (OUV), including lemur populations. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that the Committee inscribed the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), following a dramatic increase in illegal logging within the above parks and the continued provision of export permits for illegally logged timber by the State Party (Decision 34 COM 7B.2).During this session, the Committee also approved an International Assistance Request (IAR) to fund an assessment of the impacts of the illegal logging crisis on the property and contribute to the implementation of an emergency action plan (Decision 34 COM 15.2). The status report on the implementation of the IAR is available in Document WHC-11/35.COM/14. The Committee further encouraged the State Party to convene a High Level Meeting of the States Parties concerned by the trafficking of illegal rosewood in Decision 34 COM 7B.2, which has not yet been organised. 

The requested joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission is planned from 23 May to 1 June 2011. The mission was postponed until May to allow for the preparatory assessments of the impacts of illegal logging foreseen under the IAR to be carried out. Based on the mission results, a revised draft decision might also be prepared by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN.

a) Illegal logging of precious woods

Masoala National Park: The State Party reports that the anti-logging Task Force was disbanded in the second half of 2010. Since then, the mandate for the park’s surveillance has reverted to the park authorities, in collaboration with the local forestry service and village committees. Ten surveillance patrols were undertaken in 2010, in collaboration with the Gendarmerie. While these patrols did not observe illegal logging within the park, 5000 precious wood logs and 42 lemur traps were identified, transportation of cut rosewood logs by boat to Antalaha was observed, and a number of rosewood traffickers were reportedly apprehended and tried. The State Party also reports that several members of the park's staff were trained in early 2010 to undertake an initial inventory of rosewood stumps in a number of locations within the park. According to the State Party report, the results of this inventory indicate, that only rosewood trees over 30-40 cm DBH (diameter at breast height) were logged, thereby sparing young rosewood trees and minimising long-term adverse impacts on the forest. Ongoing natural regeneration of rosewood stumps in the above zones was also observed.

 

Marojejy National Park: The State Party reports that illegal logging of rosewood species has been halted thanks to the joint efforts of the park authorities, the village surveillance committees, and the anti-logging Task Force. The State Party notes that in order to strengthen surveillance several agreements have been set up with local officers of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Offices and the national Gendarmerie. Nineteen individuals were fined for unspecified illegal activities. The report further confirms that the exportation of rosewood through the Vohemar port was halted in 2010.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the OUV of the property is linked to the intact ecosystem of primary forest. They note that both rosewood and ebony are slow growing species, and that it therefore will take a long time for mature trees to regenerate.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome reports that illegal logging appears to have halted in Marojejy National Park. However, Reports have been received that while illegal logging has drastically diminished, some illegal logging is ongoing in both protected areas, including of trees less than 30cm diameter, and that 6 individuals were apprehended and fined in February 2011. Some recent information has also been received following the closure of the Vohémar port for rosewood, wood logs are hidden with the expectation of being later on sold or the illegal wood is transported to another harbor further north.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the State Party report has not presented specific quantifiable data on the timber trafficking nor on the enforcement of Decree N° 2010-141 of 24 March 2010 banning the exploitation and export of rosewood and ebony.Despite the marked decrease in illegal logging, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the conservation status of both parks, and in particular Masoala National Park, remains fragile. The forthcoming joint mission will gather information on the status of illegal logging and exportation of precious woods and its impacts on the property’s OUV. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that the Committee requested all State Parties to ensure that any illegal timber originating from Madagascar is both banned and prevented from entering their national markets, especially those countries that are known destinations for illegally logged timber.

b) Poaching

Masoala National Park: The State Party recalls the results of the March 2010 Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) survey of two lemur species in three areas within the park, which found that populations of lemurs have been significantly disturbed in sites affected by illegal logging. These were described in last year report (details are available in Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add).

Marojejy National Park: The State Party notes that surveys undertaken in 2010 on another lemur species in the north-east of the park and in a zone affected by illegal logging of precious woods indicate that populations have been maintained despite the illegal logging crisis. Seven other lemur species were also observed in the survey area. However, the survey report states that considerable habitat disturbance was observed including 24 logging and hunting huts, 15 lemur traps, and several old rosewood logs. The State Party notes that reports on further inventories are available, but did not submit these.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that while the reported surveys do provide some data on the status of lemur populations, they do not comprehensively address the impact of the illegal logging crisis and associated poaching, bushmeat trade, encroachment and other resource extraction activities on the lemur populations of Masoala and Marojejy National Parks, which form part of the property’s OUV. They consider that illegal logging and the associated threats noted above may have affected the distribution of lemur species in both parks on a long term basis. They note that more detailed and OUV-focused ground surveys are currently ongoing (funded by the World Heritage Fund as mentioned further above). The status of these ongoing surveys and any preliminary results will be considered by the joint mission and reported to the Committee.

c) Other conservation issues – agricultural encroachment, artisanal mining

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that the secondary effects of the illegal logging crisis that affected Masoala and Marojejy National Parksare likely to be far more serious than the direct effects of stand reduction and habitat disturbance. Cumulatively, these effects are likely to amplify the direct impacts of illegal logging and cause serious long-term ecological damage, for example by facilitating the expansion of agricultural encroachment and artisanal mining. They note that the joint mission will consider the extent of these threats and provide an update on their incidence within, and impacts on, the property. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome the reports by the State Party that illegal logging of rosewood and ebony appears to have diminished in Masoala National Park and halted in Marojejy National Park, but note other reports that some logging and trafficking of timber continues. They recall the secondary impacts of past logging on the property’s OUV, in particular poaching of lemurs, and the possible expansion of agricultural encroachment and artisanal mining. They consider that given the absence of comprehensive data on the direct and indirect impacts of illegal logging on Masoala and Marojejy National Parks, it is not possible to adequately assess the state of conservation of the property.

They note the forthcoming joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission, which will assess the current situation and develop, in cooperation with the State Party, a set of corrective measures, a timeframe for their implementation, an emergency action plan, and if possible a draft Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The results of the mission will be presented orally to the 35th session and a revised draft decision might also be prepared by the World Heritage Centre to reflect its recommendations.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider the property should be retained on the List of World Heritage in Danger until such time as these issues are clarified and the property’s OUV has recovered. 

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 14

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having considered Document WHC-11/35.COM/14,

2. Takes note of the status of implementation of the International Assistance request for Atsinanana Forests (Madagascar) approved in 2010;

3. Requests the Secretariat to submit a report on the implementation of this request at the 36th session of the Committee in 2012, under the agenda item International Assistance.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7A.10

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined document WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.2, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Welcomes the confirmation that illegal logging has been halted in Marojejy National Park, but notes with concern that illegal exploitation continues in Masoala National Park and that the pressure appears to have moved to other protected areas despite Decree 2010-141 prohibiting the cutting, exploitation and export of rosewood and ebony in Madagascar;

4. Expresses its concern regarding the significant increase in agricultural clearings in Masoala National Park, and the increase in artisanal mining and indications of increased poaching;

5. Takes note of the conclusion of the reactive monitoring mission of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN that for the time being the values for which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List are not yet questioned but that the integrity of the property is affected;

6. Urges the State Party to take urgent action such as corrective measures to halt illegal logging operations, including:

a) Finalize the registration of all existing stocks of wood and ensure their immediate seizure,

b) Eliminate all of these stocks within one year after the seizure, with no possibility of renewing the stock. It will be the responsibility of the State Party to propose an appropriate process for the liquidation and control of the stock, resulting in the complete elimination of all wood stored within 18 months,

c) Finalize immediately the inscription file for the Dalbergia and Diospyros species endemic to Madagascar in Appendix III of the CITES and submit the inscription of these species in Appendix II of the CITES to the next Conference of States Parties in order to strengthen their protection status,

d) Enforce the implementation of the Decree of March 24, 2010, and, more globally, the Decrees of November 2000 and April 2006, in particular by publishing in the press an official document signed by the Minister of Environment to clarify precisely the status of these woods and their conservation, for information to the public, all State departments in charge of controlling them, and all potential players in the timber industry, and by commissioning an independent observer to monitor the implementation of the decree;

7. Requests the State Party to implement other technical corrective measures recommended by the joint reactive monitoring World Heritage Centre / IUCN mission to restore the integrity of the property:

a) Strengthen the prerogatives of Madagascar National Parks (MNP) and give some of its staff the appropriate power to pursue and report on-site breaches, and to verbalise these offences,

b) Strengthen the occasional joint patrols to increase the surveillance capacity of MNP and ensure the support of other State services in the process,

c) Provide independent monitoring of the integrity of all six components of the property through aerial surveillance,

d) Strengthen collaboration with the local population to halt clearing, by promoting local sustainable development projects in cooperation with MNP,

e) Establish a system with the village surveillance committees to monitor access to the parks, in particular to control the penetration of mineral collectors,

f) Ensure the rehabilitation of the most degraded (cleared) sites by selective reforestation, with assistance from the local workforce;

8. Considers that the implementation of corrective actions should be completed within a period of two years, and that international support for the implementation of these actions should be channeled through competent and recognized organizations selected by the World Heritage Centre in agreement with relevant authorities;

9. Adopts the Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger as follows:

a) The illegal exploitation of precious woods is halted in the six components of the property,

b) The clearance rate in the six components of the property does not exceed 0.01% per year,

c) The areas heavily degraded by agricultural clearing and illegal logging are reclaimed and their ecological restoration is underway,

d) No significant signs of poaching of the lemur species and other key species within the property;

10. Reiterates the importance that the States Parties to the Convention shall take measures to ensure that illegal timber from Madagascar, as defined in Decree 2010-141, is both forbidden and cannot enter their domestic markets;

11. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property, including, notably, an overall assessment of the impacts of illegal logging in Masoala and Marojejy National Parks, and an evaluation of the implementation of corrective measures, for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012;

12. Decides to retain the Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Madagascar) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-11/35.COM/7A, WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add and WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add.Corr),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: