Lalao is overseeing the development of the Tahiry Honko project, the first Plan Vivo carbon initiative in Madagascar, and only the second mangrove carbon project in the World. She has been recognised as an IUCN natural-born hero for her outstanding contribution to conservation in her home country of Madagascar. Blue forests are Lalao’s passion, and she has been involved in mangrove field research for 10 years with Blue Ventures. She has undertaken a number of large-scale mangrove assessments in the southwest and the northwest of Madagascar, looking at the biomass and carbon stock of mangrove stands, the status of environmental and human impacts, and future threats.
More than just working on the science of carbon stock measurements, Lalao draws on over five years of experience in community-based natural resource management to help develop blue forest projects with local communities. In 2014, Lalao took over management of the Tahiry Honko project, which aims to incentivise and fund community-led mangrove conservation in the Velondriake LMMA with finance from the voluntary carbon market. Plan Vivo initiatives differ from other types of forest carbon projects. Whilst they are still measured and valued according to their impact on greenhouse gas emissions, Plan Vivo project design is community-led. Communities decide which land use activities (e.g. forest conservation, agroforestry, reforestation) will best address threats to their local ecosystems and are of most interest and value to them. Through this project, Lalao has become a key spokesperson on the role that coastal people can play in effective coastal conservation and the need to develop viable solutions to enable this, presenting her experiences at international meetings around the world, including the UNFCCC 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris in 2015.
She is also involved in developing and researching simple but robust methods for the measurement of mangrove ecosystem services. Lalao is the East African Forum for Payment for Ecosystem Service (EAFPES) representative in Madagascar. She has a marine science background and has attended a training course on the management of mangroves using payment for ecosystem services in Gazi Bay, Mombasa, Kenya, jointly organised by Earthwatch Research Institute (ERI) and the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI). Lalao is also member of the Earth Skills Network, which brings together leaders from the business world with protected area managers to share knowledge and transfer key business skills.