Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Ian Colquhoun


As a result of the continuous loss of forest habitats in Madagascar, forest fragments that exhibit a high degree of degradation and are strongly embedded on the livelihood needs of rural Malagasy people are increasingly being considered as the focus of conservation management operations. This new type of protected areas, based on the IUCN’s Category V management model for conservation action, promises a social-ecologically balanced method of environmental intervention that seeks to protect ecological communities while promoting sustainable socioeconomic systems. However, due to the poor ecological quality and immense level of anthropogenic influence in the type of forests that serves as the background to this conservation system, the benefit that this model can provide to lemur conservation remains unclear. In this thesis, I address these uncertainties exploring how the habitat conditions and current conservation initiatives of a small Category V new protected area in northern Madagascar influence the present and long-term viability pattern of a resident crowned lemur population. Using ecological niche models (ENMs) and occupancy assessments, my research shows that at Oronjia Conservation Park, crowned lemurs navigate high levels of anthropogenic disturbance and poor habitat quality by maximizing their use of the few forest sections capable of supporting the population. Furthermore, my research shows that community-based conservation initiatives are creating a social landscape where the continued risk of habitat loss and deterioration can be properly managed.