Conservation of Madagascar's grasslands
The extent to which grasslands have expanded and contracted in response to natural climate cycles rather than more recent agricultural practices remains unknown. The EU-funded MADGRASS project will address this knowledge gap by focusing on the grasslands of central Madagascar. Genomic and bioinformatic techniques will be used to test demographic hypotheses that will identify the timing of grassland expansions and contractions, population structure, and gene flow between populations. Recent advances in polyploid species analyses will also be applied. Results will be used to identify which of Madagascar's natural grasslands should be protected and which grasslands should be released from protected status for community and commercial use.