Title

Playing with Fire: An Investigation of the Socio-Ecological Construction of Grassland Burning in Namoly Valley, Madagascar

Abstract

Landscape burning in the central highland region of Madagascar has long been a polarizing issue in the country's conservation discourse. A key element of this discourse is the legitimacy of the use of fire as a land management tool. The Namoly valley in south-central Madagascar relies heavily on landscape burning as an integral part of socio-economic life. I explore how the political structures and socio-cultural institutions, as well as colonial and green neoliberal rhetoric, have constructed the Namoly Valley grassland ecosystem. To investigate this question, I used semi-structured qualitative interviews, community mapping techniques and participant observation. I also used vegetation surveys of post-burn alpine grassland in the nearby Andohariana plateau to examine the ecological response to burning techniques. These results were analyzed using the sociological theories of critical realism, world systems theory, and non-equilibrium ecological theory.

Faculty Sponsor

Alissa Cordner

Tracks

poster

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Location

Cordiner Hall

Presentation Type

Poster

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Playing with Fire: An Investigation of the Socio-Ecological Construction of Grassland Burning in Namoly Valley, Madagascar

Cordiner Hall

Landscape burning in the central highland region of Madagascar has long been a polarizing issue in the country's conservation discourse. A key element of this discourse is the legitimacy of the use of fire as a land management tool. The Namoly valley in south-central Madagascar relies heavily on landscape burning as an integral part of socio-economic life. I explore how the political structures and socio-cultural institutions, as well as colonial and green neoliberal rhetoric, have constructed the Namoly Valley grassland ecosystem. To investigate this question, I used semi-structured qualitative interviews, community mapping techniques and participant observation. I also used vegetation surveys of post-burn alpine grassland in the nearby Andohariana plateau to examine the ecological response to burning techniques. These results were analyzed using the sociological theories of critical realism, world systems theory, and non-equilibrium ecological theory.

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