Malagasy Mountain Programme



Madagascar’s high-elevation systems (>2 000 m) are scattered massifs along the length of the Malagasy Central Highlands. Many of these systems are poorly researched, or research is now very outdated. Consequently, these massifs are some of the least well-researched components of this fascinating and exciting island.

A collaboration between the Afromontane Research Unit, Association Vahatra, and the University of Antananarivo seeks to better profile and understand these Malagasy mountains in terms of global change challenges. This forms part of the ARU’s mission to encourage the development of a vibrant Southern African community of practice for mountain research, policy, and practice.

The Malagasy Mountain Programme encourages single-disciplinary to multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches under a social-ecological systems paradigm. Topics include biodiversity (re-)exploration and enumeration, taxonomy, biogeography, fire ecology, non-native invasive species, climate studies, social sciences, and governance.

This programme will serve as a platform to support social conservation efforts, restoration programmes, and other interventions aimed at safeguarding or restoring Madagascar’s high-elevation systems under the context of global change.

The objectives of the Malagasy Mountain Programme are to

  • strengthen South-South collaboration on Southern African mountains under global change by including Madagascar more closely into the Southern African mountain network;
  • facilitate co-learning on the similarities and differences between systems in Madagascar and the African continental context, sharing intervention experiences in systems management;
  • grow a steady stream of two-way activities between Madagascar and South Africa related to highland systems. This includes research exchanges, staff exchanges, student co-supervision, and project collaboration through external grant funding;
  • facilitate participation in field schools and engage in mutually beneficial research activities;
  • actively scan the horizon for project funds and grants;
  • explore other opportunities that support the mandates and purposes of the partners;
  • build the capacity of current and future African scientists, including Malagasy and continental researchers, in mountain research; and
  • increase the representation of Malagasy mountain research and Malagasy scientists and researchers at key international mountain events, such as the Second Southern African Mountain Conference (SAMC2025) and the next International Mountain Conference (IMC2025).

The key partners

  • Association Vahatra, represented by Prof Achille Raselimanana and Prof Steven Goodman.
  • Department of Biology and Plant Ecology, Sciences and Technology Domain, University of Antananarivo, represented by Dr Mijoro Rakotoarinivo.
  • Department of Zoology and Animal Biodiversity, Sciences and Technology Domain, University of Antananarivo, represented by Dr Fano Ratsoavina.
  • Afromontane Research Unit, represented by Dr Andrinajoro (‘Joro’) Rakotoarivelo, Prof Peter Taylor, and Prof Vincent Ralph Clark.

Dr Andrinajoro (‘Joro’) Rakotoarivelo is the primary link between all partners. 

The initiation of the Malagasy Mountain Programme as a South-South Global Change partnership was supported financially by a South African Department of Science and Innovation-National Research Foundation Risk and Vulnerability Science Centre (RVSC) award to the Afromontane Research Unit (ARU; grant number 128386).

For more information, please contact
Dr Joro Rakotoarivelo
Malagasy Mountain Programme Co-ordinator

Prof Ralph Clark
ARU Director




Contact us

Sithando Jwara

Administrator: Afromontane Research Unit
Private Bag X13, Phuthaditjhaba, 9866, Republic of South Africa
T: +27 58 718 5271
C: +27 73 512 7671