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Burning for Zebu: The complexity of deforestation issues in western Madagascar

This paper examines the cause of the slash, burn and move on culture in Tandroy migrants that is threatening large amounts of primary forest in western Madagascar. The author conducts a participatory rural appraisal styled set of interviews in addition to a mapping exercise illustrating the scale of deforestation. The author finds that forest is burnt and most commonly maize is planted in its place due to its high yield and the fact that it can be sold quickly to generate cash income. The Tandroy migrants use this cash income to purchase Zebu which hold strong cultural importance to them and signify power, and social importance. Poverty in their homelands, and lack of space for keeping Zebu push Tandroy to leave their homelands in the hope of obtaining many Zebu and to return to increase their social standing. Things are further complicated due to differences in understanding basic needs, the understanding of poverty, and the imperative for economic success which often underlie western poverty reduction schemes and which have very different meanings for Tandroy migrants.

Author(s): 
Reau, Bertrand
Source: 
Norsk geografisk tidsskrift
Volume etc.: 
56, 3, 219-229
Year published: 
2010