It has been called the eighth continent because of its unique wildlife which has evolved in isolation for 165 million years. But Madagascar's biodiversity - including 50 kinds of lemur - is under acute threat from slash-and-burn agriculture in what is one of the poorest countries on Earth.
The island has already lost at least 80% of its original forest cover, with over half this loss in the last 100 years.
Now, Madagascar has moved to protect its priceless wildlife (three-quarters of the estimated 200,000 plant and animal species are found nowhere else) and has identified the additional forests and wetlands that will more than treble the area of nature reserves from 1.7 million hectares to 6 million ha by 2008.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
The BBC has this report on new developments for Madagascar's conservation efforts.