French climber protects Madagascar's forests
Seasoned French climber and eco warrior, Gilles Gautier recently extended his passion for nature into some revolutionary 'forest preservation' programs for the Island, which have proven highly beneficial in outcome.
Exotic Madagascar offers climbers everything from extreme lines to hard ascents and naturally, substantial bouldering.
Climbers tend to congregate in two major areas namely the northern areas' limestone crags and sea cliffs, and the sweeping granite walls in the south near Tsaranaro which entails crossing the forest to reach Camp Catta.According to Gautier, the way through to this base offers "a score of potential cliffs and boulders to be scouted and/or developed."
"Apart from supporting various actions in the social/humanitarian/cultural field, I'm deeply involved in reforestation schemes." says Gautier.
He has already succeeded in the mammoth task of getting 3-4.000 trees planted in the villages over the past four years in order to reduce pressure on the original forests and continue to provide necessary resources to the locals.
In addition, he organized a yearly reforestation festival to educate the inhabitants of Madagascar on the importance of maintaining the delicate balances of biodiversity which has already resulted in a growing demand amongst the local population for seedlings to plant on their own land. His next step he calls the "2% for Planet Madagascar" plan still in its infancy, which entails the implementation of a program where operators are encouraged to spend 2% of their revenues on reforestation schemes.
Gautier's conservation efforts and the Islands climbing opportunities can be explored in more depth on his website, http://www.madamax.com, which is presently being updated.