The Arboretum of Antsokay was created around 1980 on the initiative of a Swiss amateur botanist Hermann PETIGNAT, by the purchase of several plots of very poor land made up of limestone marl and decalcified red sand. The arboretum is located 12 km southeast of the city of Toliara, 2 km north of the Tropic of Capricorn and 3 km from the waters of the Mozambique Channel. Antsokay designates a small nearby hamlet where there are limestone stones used to make quicklime.
On an area of 40 hectares, surrounded by a living hedge, the initiator has undertaken to reproduce and multiply either by seed, cutting or transplantation, the most endangered plant species in order to preserve the greatest number of constant deforestation, bushfires and looters. The study, the identification and if necessary their description are, for the best assured and it is besides during many prospecting in bush that H.Petignat and his team were able to discover and describe new species.
The Arboretum's mission
The mission of the Arboretum of Antsokay is to contribute to the conservation of the endemic flora of southwestern Madagascar by highlighting three general objectives:
- Maintain and increase a collection of plants from southwestern Madagascar;
- Undertake conservation programs and botanical research;
- Promote public awareness and knowledge of plants and the importance of their conservation through environmental education.