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News from Madagascar

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Madagascar's Pierced Heart - National Geographic Article

Link to article -

Seacology Prize to Rabary Desiré

Each year, the Seacology Prize is awarded to an indigenous islander for exceptional achievement in preserving the environment and culture of any of the world’s 100,000 islands. The Prize highlights the heroic efforts by people who seldom receive any publicity – indigenous leaders who risk their own lives and well-being to protect their island's ecosystems and culture. Since the inception of the Prize in 1992, Seacology has given the award to 19 native islanders in recognition of their innovative and courageous work. The 2010 Seacology Prize winner is Rabary Desiré, a forest conservation leader from Matsobe-Sud, Commune Rurale Belaoka-Marovato, Madagascar. For his tireless efforts to further forest conservation in northeastern Madagascar, Mr. Desiré will be awarded $10,000 and honored at a ceremony at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, California on October 7, 2010.

Read full press release


BBC Radio 4

Madagascar is in crisis. Since a coup last year that brought a DJ in his mid-thirties to power as president, this huge island nation has become a pariah state. For the most part, the international community has refused to recognise the new government. Most seriously for Madagascar, in an effort to persuade the new regime to restore democracy, most aid has been withdrawn. This has created a huge dent in the state's coffers because donor assistance accounted for a staggering half of Madagascar's income.

The fallout for an already poor nation has been profound. Thousands have lost their jobs in garment factories as a result of the United States' decision to suspend favourable trade tariffs for Madagascar. Others eke out a living on the streets, or have headed for the countryside to subsist on what rice they can grow. Hospitals and schools are under serious pressure. Over half of all children are malnourished, and family breakdown is an everyday event.

Now there is evidence that Madagascar's unique and spectacular wildlife - ancient hardwoods, baobabs, and lemurs - is especially endangered by corruption, poverty and a breakdown in the rule of law. The forests are being plundered. Loggers have illegally sought out and exported rare rosewood, and there is anecdotal evidence that hunting for bush meat, and the smuggling of rare wildlife are both on the increase.

As Madagascar celebrates fifty years of independence from French rule, Linda Pressly visits the capital of Antananorivo and travels out to one of the National Parks to find out how people are surviving in this island nation seemingly in freefall. 

Erik Patel's Article on the Crisis

National Geographic NewsWatch interview - click here

Rosewood Export Ban Announced

VICTORY! Madagascar Reinstates Rainforest Protections Following EI Led Global Public Outcry

From Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet (EI)

Madagascar's transitional government last week reinstated a ban on rosewood logging and exports, following prolonged and growing pressure over illegal logging of its national parks spearheaded by Ecological Internet. As reported by Mongabay, the decree (no. 2010-141) prohibits all exports of rosewood and precious timber for two to five years. With the export ban in place, the fate of 10,000-15,000 metric tons of already illegally logged rosewood awaiting export remains uncertain. It is also unclear whether illegal loggers and traders will be prosecuted [1].

“These issues, getting this moratorium to be permanent, and working to demonstrate community development from standing primary and restored rainforests will require continued vigilance and campaigning. Yet, two important points have been made. It is again demonstrated that it is possible to end rainforest logging. And the emergence of an empowered global movement committed to protecting and restoring old forests – and other ecologically sufficient policy necessary to achieve global ecological sustainability – is again powerfully demonstrated,” says Dr. Glen Barry, EI President.

Over the past year, Ecological Internet conceived and led an international protest campaign seeking to emphasize the importance of keeping Madagascar’s dwindling primary forests standing and intact as the basis for national advancement [2]. Some 7674 EI network participants from 102 countries sent over 1/2 million protest emails.  The result comes just days after EI blasted President Sarkozy of France, a country with deep historical ties to Madagascar, as being “guilty of dangerous hypocrisy” for condemning deforestation as a French company company continued to threaten Madagascar’s rainforests.

Other groups such as Regenwald, Global Witness and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) that have been protesting the resumption in exports of illegally logged timber cautiously welcomed the move as well. The logging crisis began in March of 2009 when destabilization following a government coup allowed loggers to enter several of Madagascar's world-renowned parks and illegally log rosewood and other valuable trees. Tens of thousands of hectares were logged in Madagascar's most biodiverse rainforests, which also sparked a rise in bushmeat trafficking of lemurs. Madagascar’s transitional government then sanctioned timber exports at the end of 2009 despite a long-standing ban on rosewood logging.

[1] Madagascar bans rainforest timber exports following global outcry,
More Information can be found at Mongabay which has broken and continues to cover the story.

[2] Action Alert: Protest Madagascar's Legalization of Rosewood Log Export from National Parks


Current Articles, Press Releases, Videos On Crisis:

Madagascar Rainforest Massacre by Derek Schuurman 2009 YouTube video

Virtual Tour of Madagascar - Climate Change and Economic Solutions via the Forests

Journal Madagascar Conservation & Development 10/6/09

National Geographic News

Scientific American

Edmonton Journal



Madagascar Fauna Group

Madagascar Net

Madagascar Tribune (in French)

Destruction Worsens... -

Interview with Erik Patel -


U.S. Department of State

Main address:
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Main Switchboard:
TTY:1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay Service)

Email the Department of State

R. Niels Marquardt
U.S. Ambassador
Republic of Madagascar and the Union of the Comoros

Republic of Madagascar

Government Portal

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