Geography of Madagascar. Madagascar is an island in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of southern Africa, east of Mozambique.
It is the fourth largest island in the world. The highest point is Maromokotro, in the Tsaratanana Massif region in the north of the island, at 2,876 metres (9,436 ft). The capital Antananarivo is in the Hauts Plateaux near the centre of the island. It has a total area of 587,040 square kilometres (226,660 sq mi) with 581,540 square kilometres (224,530 sq mi) of land and 5,500 square kilometres (2,100 sq mi) of water. Geography. Climate. Wildlife of Madagascar.
Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta), the most familiar of Madagascar's numerous species of lemur.
Fauna The ring-tailed lemur is one of over 100 known species and subspecies of lemur found only in Madagascar. Lemurs have been characterized as "Madagascar's flagship mammal species" by Conservation International. In the absence of monkeys and other competitors, these primates have adapted to a wide range of habitats and diversified into numerous species. As of 2012, there were officially 103 species and subspecies of lemur, 39 of which were described by zoologists between 2000 and 2008. They are almost all classified as rare, vulnerable, or endangered.
Flora of Madagascar. The flora of Madagascar is exceptionally unique and biodiverse, with more than 80 percent of the island's 14,883 plant species found nowhere else in the world.
The prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana separated the Madagascar-Antarctica-India landmass from the Africa-South America landmass around 135 million years ago. Madagascar later split from India about 88 million years ago, allowing plants and animals on the island to evolve in relative isolation. This distinctive ecology has led some ecologists to refer to Madagascar as the "eighth continent", and the island has been classified by Conservation International as a biodiversity hotspot. Much of the island was originally forested, but nearly all this forest cover has been lost due to increasing global temperatures and human deforestation.
Fauna of Madagascar. The fauna of Madagascar is a part of the wildlife of Madagascar.
Madagascar has been an isolated island for about 70 million years, breaking away from Africa around 165 million years ago, then from India nearly 100 million years later. This isolation led to the development of a unique endemic fauna. Before humans arrived about 2,000 years ago, there were many large and unusual animals living there, descended from species that were originally present when Madagascar became an island, or from species that later crossed the sea to Madagascar. Ecological niches were often filled by animals with quite different histories from those on the African mainland, often leading to convergent evolution. A large proportion of these endemic Malagasy animals have died out since the arrival of humans, most particularly the megafauna. There are believed to have been only five colonization events of terrestrial mammals from mainland Africa. Mammals Malagasy living mammals Ecology. Agroecology in Madagascar. Most of the historical farming in Madagascar has been conducted by indigenous peoples.
The French colonial period disturbed a very small percentage of land area, and even included some useful experiments in sustainable forestry. Slash-and-burn techniques, a component of some shifting cultivation systems have been practised by the inhabitants of Madagascar for centuries. As of 2006 some of the major agricultural products from slash-and-burn methods are wood, charcoal and grass for Zebu grazing. These practises have taken perhaps the greatest toll on land fertility since the end of French rule, mainly due to overpopulation pressures. The Madagascar dry deciduous forests have been preserved generally better than the eastern rainforests or the high central plateau, presumably due to historically less population density and scarcity of water; moreover, the present day lack of road access further limits human access.
See also Agroecology References Messerli, Peter (2000). Ecoregions of Madagascar. Satellite image of Madagascar Overview Madagascar and neighboring Indian Ocean islands form a distinctive sub-region of the Afrotropic ecozone in biogeography, which botanist Armen Takhtajan called the Madagascan Region.
In phytogeography it is the floristic phytochorion Madagascan Subkingdom in the Paleotropical Kingdom. The region is chara north-south along the spine of the island. The Eastern region also includes humid pockets further westward, including Sambirano and Isalo. The Eastern and Western regions can be further subdivided into seven terrestrial ecoregions. Environmental challenges. Illegal logging in Madagascar. Rosewood is illegally logged from Masoala and Marojejy national parks, with the heaviest exploitation occurring after the 2009 political crisis.
Illegal logging has been a problem in Madagascar for decades and is perpetuated by extreme poverty and government corruption. Often taking the form of selective logging, the trade has been driven by high international demand for expensive, fine-grained lumber such as rosewood and ebony. Historically, logging and exporting in Madagascar have been regulated by the Malagasy government, although the logging of rare hardwoods was explicitly banned from protected areas in 2000. Since then, government orders and memos have intermittently alternated between permitting and banning exports of precious woods.
The most commonly cited reason for permitting exports is to salvage valuable wood from cyclone damage, although this reasoning has come under heavy scrutiny. History Rosewood removed from Marojejy National Park by waterway in 2005. Deforestation in Madagascar. Illegal slash and burn practise in the region west of Manantenina.
Deforestation in Madagascar is an ongoing environmental issue. Deforestation with resulting desertification, water resource degradation and soil loss has affected approximately 94% of Madagascar's previously biologically productive lands. Since the arrival of humans 2000 years ago, Madagascar has lost more than 90% of its original forest. 70% of the forest cover of Madagascar was destroyed between 1895 and 1925, while Madagascar was under French rule. Since 1953, half of the remaining forest has been lost. Largely due to deforestation, the country is currently unable to provide adequate food, fresh water and sanitation for its fast growing population. One major cause of deforestation has been the introduction of coffee as a cash crop during the French colonial period. Illegal logging Reforestation efforts Some reforestation efforts have been conducted by Rio Tinto, a mining organization.