A Close-Up Look of the Malagasy Environmental Law

by Diane M. Henkels

Abstract

This is a study of Malagasy environmental law. The object of this article is to give basic background on Madagascar’s modern positive law and customary law governing natural resources. Since the nineteenth century and the reign of the Imerina monarchs through the three republics, the country has tried to control its environnement and especially the loss of its forests according to its system of civil law. Now, several texts address a wider field of environmental law including international law, the constitution, management of protected areas, community management of renewable natural resources, among others. This work occurs in the south-east in the vicinity of Ranomafana National Park where the influence of customary law remains very strong. Efforts have been made to integrate the customary law, especially the dina, in modern positive law. This article shows the diverse juridical, culturals, and international aspects of environmental law.

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Diane Marie Henkels, Esq., is currently working on an environmental ordinance project for the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians in western Oregon.  She completed her JD at Vermont Law School in 1997.  From October 1997 to May 1998, Diane conducted multi-disciplinary legal field work in south eastern Madagascar. A National Security Education Program fellowship enabled her to pursue an internship with the Development and Environmental Law Center (DELC) in Madagascar in order to complete her Masters of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School.  The author thanks Vermont Law School, DELC, Jean Rakotoarison, Docteur d’Etat en Droit, Lalaina Rakotoson, M.S.E.L., and other colleagues in Madagascar whose assistance made this field work possible.