Help Support Forest Climate Research in Madagascar

M3s: Madagascar Microclimate Monitoring System

Climate change is happening globally. But what does an average increase of 1.5° C mean for right here, right now?

We seek to understand microclimate (the here and now of climate at a local scale), and how it is changing in one of the most charismatic and underexplored locations on Earth: the canopy of the tropical rainforest (expand for more info, budget, and rewards):

Who we are:

We’re a team of American and Malagasy researchers working together to understand the impact of climate change. We’re led by Dave Klinges, Dartmouth College ’17 and University of Florida PhD student (member of the Scheffers Global Change Ecology research group), and Eric Greenlee, Dartmouth College ’18 and University of Maryland Masters student. 

What we do:

We use custom-made environmental monitoring units to measure the climate of sensitive ecosystems, such as the rainforests of Madagascar.

What we’re asking for:

We're hoping to raise $5,000 for:
a.  Financial support for to our collaborators in Madagascar, who help deploy and guard sensors and otherwise rely on subsistence agriculture for a livelihood

b.  Funds to purchasing sensors and parts to continue to build and improve our microclimate prototypes

Hi, Salama, Bonjour.

As the planet’s climate warms and becomes more unstable, locations that are undergoing rapid change of land use will be severely impacted. This is a huge problem for rainforests and their biodiversity, which are undergoing fast conversion to agriculture and development. As trees are cut down, the landscape loses the cooling effect caused by tree shade, and heats up even more. Our work focuses on understanding how the combined threats of climate change and deforestation impact the rainforest canopy in the immensely biodiverse nation of Madagascar.

Tropical rainforests are some of the most biologically rich ecosystems on the planet, and Madagascar has some of the most unique forests of them all: over 80% of all wildlife species native to the island nation are found nowhere else (Goodman and Benstead 2008). However, the country is experiencing population explosion, and quickly converting virgin rainforest to agriculture lands…in as little as 40 years, there may be no rainforest left. Plus, as the climate becomes more unstable, the remaining forests might start to warm at just as fast a pace…

Or, forest climate might remain stable, offering refuge for organisms from warming temperatures outside the trees. So we hope, but we can’t say for sure unless we get out there and measure climate.

Our team uses Environmental Monitoring Units (EMUs) to measure climate at a highly local scale. We will deploy EMUs from the forest floor up to the canopy in Madagascar that will continue to remotely measure climate even once we’ve departed, tracking climate for years to come.

But purchasing large numbers of climate sensors can be expensive and not feasible for all conservationists. So we’re designing our own EMUs at a fraction of the price that industry models cost. With the help of funds from this project, we will be able to finish our prototype EMUs and start tracking forest climate at local scales in real time.

Our prototype M3s environmental monitoring unit.

What we’re asking for:

Here’s where you come in. By supporting our project, you’re helping us with one of two things:

a.     Financial support for helping deploy our sensors given to our collaborators in Madagascar, who otherwise rely on subsistence agriculture for a livelihood. Our Malagasy team members are essential for deploying the M3s sensors in the field, and they will keep guard over the sensors throughout the year

b.     Purchasing sensors and parts to continue to build and improve our EMU prototypes, which will each provide years of climate data

Salaries for Malagasy research assistants: 3 people at $9.56/day for 35 days = $1,004
M3s custom environmental monitoring units: $20 each
Round-trip flights to Madagascar: $1,800 FUNDED
Food and perishable supplies for the research team: $806.90 FUNDED
In-country transport: $500 FUNDED
Climbing equipment: $7,500 FUNDED

Support for research assistants and…

… build 50 M3s units: $2,004
… build 100 M3s units: $3,004
… build 200 M3s units: $5,004

Each M3s unit will continue to monitor climate even after our team has finished fieldwork, remotely recording data for years to come. If this campaign goes well, we hope to expand our sensor production to make a non-profit, low-cost product available to all in the environmental community.

With your help, we can improve our understanding of climate change, and how forests­– and their inhabitants– will respond. Join us!

Rewards for Supporting:


Thanks for supporting the project! We’ll give you a shout-out on social media letting the world know how much you care about understanding the impacts of climate change.


We can now build another M3s microclimate sensor! We’ll send you a high-quality version of one of our photos of Madagascar landscapes and wildlife so you can experience our work.


Great, you bought us two new M3s sensors! We’ll send you a three-pack of custom stickers with our photos of Madagascar landscapes and wildlife, AND will make a personalized thank-you video just for you, sent from the canopy of the rainforest in Madagascar.


FOUR M3s sensors! That’s so much climate! We are going to send you a custom calendar, each month displaying a photo of either Malagasy wildlife....or an exclusive "Swimsuit: Canopy addition" shot of one of our team members.  We’ll also send a personalized thank-you video sent from the Madagascar canopy.


Welcome to VIP STATUS. We’ll engrave your name on one of our M3s sensors that we deploy in Madagascar, AND we’ll send you a custom calendar and three stickers. We’ll also make sure you get your personalized thank-you video sent from the canopy of the rainforest in Madagascar.


Guess what awesome person?! You’re a SILVER status donor, so we’ll take you for a canopy climb! Come join us for a 1.5 hour ascent to the canopy of a large tree (central Florida only). And not only will you be recognized on our website, you will receive a personal acknowledgment in a scientific research paper culminating from the work. Plus we’ll send a custom calendar and three stickers.


GOLD STATUS DONOR. You’re supporting us for an additional 20 M3s sensors, amazing! You’ll get recognition on our website and a scientific paper, and you will receive a 11” x 14” coffee table book packed with photos and detailed information on the landscapes, wildlife, and cultures of Madagascar (with an acknowledgments page listing you!).


PLATINUM STATUS DONOR. The Scheffers lab will host your for a week-long expedition in Madagascar, touring some of the world’s best rainforests, gorgeous beaches, and breathtaking mountains. And of course, we’ll bring you for multiple canopy ascents so you can enjoy the views from the best seats in the house– at the top. Bring two of your friends/family! All in-country expenses will be covered (you just need to cover your round-trip flights). Limit to 2 donors.


Goodman, S. M. & Benstead, J. P. Updated estimates of biotic diversity and endemism for Madagascar. Oryx 39, 73–77 (2005).

Nowakowski, A. J., Frishkoff, L. O., Agha, M., Todd, B. D. & Scheffers, B. R. Changing Thermal Landscapes: Merging Climate Science and Landscape Ecology through Thermal Biology. Current Landscape Ecology Reports 3, 57–72 (2018).

Donations (70)

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  • Katherine Holt
    • $100 
    • 3 yrs
  • Zack DiGregorio
    • $10 
    • 4 yrs
  • Maddie Koehler
    • $20 
    • 4 yrs
  • Katharine de Baun
    • $50 
    • 4 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $250 
    • 4 yrs
See all

Fundraising team (2)

David Klinges
Raised $2,720 from 35 donations
Gainesville, FL
Eric Greenlee
Team member
Raised $180 from 3 donations
This team raised $2,330 from 32 other donations.

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