Madagascar is well-known for the stunning diversity that its rainforests encompass. It has some of the richest biodiversity on the planet with roughly 200,000 known species found on the island and of which 150,000 exist nowhere else. Our flora is home to as many as 12,000 different species of plants, making it one of the most diverse floras on the planet. However, the Malagasy forest is in danger of disappearing at a rapid pace as 95% of its rainforests have already vanished for the past 50 years. The impact of deforestation on global climate is evident in the increased release of CO2 as the rainforest is major regulator of CO2 fluxes.
A critical threat to the Malagasy rain forest is the increasing interest by mining companies for the countries’ mineral resources (ilmenite, nickel and cobalt among others…). Renown mining companies such as Rio Tinto, Kumba or Implats have invested in mineral sand projects on sites that not only could interfere with endangered ecosystems but also directly affect the way of life of the local populations, often resulting in the transfer and reassignement of a group of population.
Many associations in Madagascar have come together to try to prevent any further endangerment of the forests by human cause. Educating villagers against the practice of slash and burn is one of the most direct courses of action that are often undertaken.
Planting trees in dry endangered areas is the other activity that 3 associations in Madagascar are pushing through: Namana serasera, the association milasoa and Foko-Madagascar. Here is a video of the latest tree planting event that gathered 45 people on February 9th, 2008. The selected planting site is surrounding one of the most important spring of the region, source of Madagascar’s main mineral water. For the same video with English subtitles, click here.
in Madagascar, deforestation seems at times, inevitable. However, with the right strategy, the right selection of trees and plenty of effort, this seemingly unstoppable disaster can be contained.
More videos of the tree planting event with partial English sound bites here.