Monday, June 9, 2008

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Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island and has been described as an "alternative world" or a "world apart" because of its unique and rare plant and animal species. Madagascar was once almost completely forested. But the practice of burning the forest to clear land for dry rice cultivation has over time denuded most of the landscape, particularly in the central highlands (tan colour in the 2001 image). Coffee production, grazing, gathering fuelwood, logging, cattle ranching, mining and other activities also have contributed to deforestation and land degradation. This set of satellite images shows a narrow coastal plain near the Linta River of southwestern Madagascar. Between 1973 and 2001, the forests in this area have all but disappeared. Remarkably, numerous endemic species still remain in scattered forest remnants. View detailed information

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