Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Wonderworld of Biological Diversity Called Madagascar

If felling of a tree hurts you, then cutting of a forest is going to hurt you more, and similarly cutting of rare trees will definitely sadden you. What, if the forests of a place are unique to not a country but the whole world, and those forests are destroyed ruthlessly. Forests are home to wildlife and innumerable species of flora and fauna. Destroying forests means destroying homes of wildlife, flora and fauna, common, rare and unique. 
The nature put Homo sapiens on the highest position in evolutionary ladder, as a highly evolved intelligent being. But his willful destruction of the same resources which sustain him puts a question mark on the very intelligence that he claims. Interestingly, the trend to destroy forests is a trend set after industrial revolution. The primitive human societies respected nature, and lived in greater harmony with forests and natural resources. Several societies even worshipped trees, animals, etc as manifestation of God or incarnation.  
On Earth there is one place which is unique for its forests and biodiversity and this is the island of Madagascar, located some 400 miles away from the east coast of Africa. It is among the highest priority biodiversity hot spot on Earth. 
Covering nearly 600,000 square kilometers, which means slightly larger than France, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, but the largest oceanic island. 
Separated from the rest of the world for at least 90 million years, imply that most of the plant and animal species found on Madagascar shall be unique to the island and found no where else.
Madagascar's geographic location in the tropics and subtropics and its unusual geological history and topography has led to very high levels of species diversity. The Island is also an example of extremely high endemism which means that species found here are found nowhere else on the planet.
Sadly, Madagascar is one of the most heavily impacted countries on Earth in terms of recent habitat destruction.
According to Conservation International (USA) nearly 90 percent of its natural vegetation has already been lost and erosion is as extreme as anywhere on the planet.
Currently a major cause for ongoing massive destruction reported in Madagascar is taking place due to considerable political instability there since a coup in March, 2009, and the current government is not recognized by any other country.
Following the coup, there is a serious breakdown of protective measures, and the two key protected areas in northern Madagascar, Masoala National Park and Marojejy National Park, both being part of a UNESCO complex of World Heritage Sites, have been invaded for extraction of valuable timbers, especially rosewood. 
There has also been a recent upsurge in hunting for bush meat, which has impacted rare species of lemurs, tortoises, and many other species. The world must rise to educate and convince people not only in Madagascar but every where else to protect forests, wildlife, flora and fauna far more vigorously and not ritually!

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