Our Project

farmer with tree nursery
More than 1% of the world's biodiversity is represented within an isolated region of northeastern Madagascar. Here, in its largest remaining rainforest, farmers and artisans are engaging in a new kind of conservation: wild silk production. 

 Conservation through Poverty Alleviation International (CPALI) has developed a new solution to conservation issues in partnership with SEPALI Madagascar that results in unique, artisan textiles made of wild silk. Farmers plant native trees, produce no-kill wild silk, and earn comfortable living wages through sustainable, silk-based livelihoods.

Ta'na'na® Silk is an online market site created to provide a virtual outlet for the products produced by SEPALIM. 100% of the profits from Wild Silk Markets are returned directly to our farmers and artisans in Madagascar. 

"Things that had no use to us before now have meaning. SEPALI has blossomed in this community." - Trozona 


team with finished textile
How it works

CPALI/SEPALIM is US-Madagascar partnership of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) focused on conservation-based livelihood development. CPALI/SEPALIM works closely with farmers to identify, develop, and implement new ways of income generation. Our mission is to protect areas of high conservation value by linking the economic livelihoods of poor rural farmers to environmental preservation.

To do this, SEPALIM has identified multiple species of native silk moths that produce commercially viable silks, and we have designed techniques for intercropping the moth's endemic host plants in border forests and abandoned pastures. Farmers who plant 200 trees with which to rear larvae can increase their average income by 30% after two years.  When other family members participate in product finishing, income gains increase between 40-60%. 

We are currently working with farmers and communities who have been economically displaced from the Makira protected area in northeastern Madagascar. Our approach conserves habitat while at the same time providing a vital source of income for the local community. 
This project is the first empirical test of the ability of small-scale enterprises to contribute both to environmental goals and to poverty alleviation.  

Real Impact

farmers collecting soil samples

After starting out with a pilot group of 12 farmers in 2009, CPALI/SEPALIM has grown to 300 farmersOnce a member, CPALI/SEPALIM provides training and support for all farmers and helps them market their products abroad. CPALI/SEPALIM is currently working with 12 farmers' groups in 15 different communities near the Makira Protected Area and Masoala National Park  in NE Madagascar. 

CPALI/SEPALIM works with local lead farmers in these communities to set up support networks.  Women organize themselves to weave baskets and produce textiles, silk moth breeders support each other to produce cocoons and plant trees. Our local Malagasy staff  works hand in hand with farmers to design innovative approaches that improve farmers' work and enhance their profits.

sorting cocoons in the ceranchia communityEducation: Subsistence farmers in Northeastern Madagascar live on less than $1 a day. With the supplemental income earned through working with CPALI/SEPALIM, farmers can earn enough added income to send a child to school for a whole year after working for just three months.

Reforestation: CPALI/SEPALIM farmers have planted over 30,000 trees since 2009, using special intercropping techniques and native species, contributing directly to the reforestation of the endangered native rainforest.

Conservation: By providing subsistence farmers with a form of sustainable supplemental income, CPALI/SEPALIM discourages the propagation of slash-and-burn agriculture that farmers traditionally turned to to earn more income. This greatly contributes to the protection and conservation of endemic flora and fauna.

Mission Statement

grandfather teaches grandson about native treeCPALI’s sustainable livelihoods program seeks to connect people and resources in a mutually beneficial way. Through our work, we develop conservation solutions that are sustainable, inclusive, and driven by local communities. 

Locally organized teams of farmers cultivate native resources that CPALI markets abroad. Farmers are earning tangible benefits from the land that they steward while recovering degraded habitats and building the border forest of the Makira Protected Area. 


~ existing resources ~ local leadership ~ community ownership ~ global markets ~


CPALI (Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, International) is a United States-based NGO founded on the principle that local populations are the key to sustainable conservation. It is run by a dedicated group of experts who volunteer their time and energy to the development of the program in Madagascar, working closely with local partners.

SEPALIM (Sehatry ny Mpamokatra Landy Ifotony, Madagascar) is a national Malagasy NGO founded with the assistance of CPALI and managed by an exclusively local staff. The SEPALIM team is on track to becoming a self-sustaining organization in the years to come.


we are proud to be a member of the fair trade federation and wildlife friendly network

village in Madagascar