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Eduard Bohlen boat run agroundEye of the Maldives

Erosion of a Volcano

£569.25 (including 15 % tax)

This image available for Sponsorship, is of the erosion on the slopes of a volcano near Ankisabe, near Antananarivo, Madagascar Latitude / Longtitude: (1904S, 4639E).

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The origins of the Malagasy people are little known; the first residents apparently settled on the island a mere 2,000 years ago, arriving from Africa and Indonesia in successive waves of migration. For centuries the island has practiced traditional farming by slashand- burn cultivation, known as tavy, which has been particularly devastating for the natural environment. Intensified overexploitation in recent decades, due to major demographic growth (the island’s population has almost tripled in less than 30 years), has led to anarchic deforestation, wiping out more than 80 percent of the primary forest that once covered 90 percent of the island at the turn of the century; every year nearly 600 square miles (1,500 km2) of forest are destroyed. Deprived of vegetal cover, the humus and loose earth are stripped away by the rains, uncovering a layer of clay that is permanently infertile and digging networks of ravines, known as lavakas. Faced with the disappearance of arable land, the Malagasy peasants also exploit steep, hilly regions. However, Madagascar’s biodiversity offers enormous potential for development; 98 percent of the island’s mammals and 68 percent of its plants do not exist anywhere else. For example, the unique pink periwinkle is used by the pharmaceutical industry to produce treatments for leukemia.

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