Land and Resources, Environmental Issues
Tsingy, reforesting, fuelwood, upland areas, desertification
Madagascarís growing population has put increased pressures on the environment. The timber industry is not a threat to the islandís forests, but slash-and-burn agriculture and reliance on fuelwood for energy are causing large losses to forest cover. The country suffers an annual deforestation rate of 0.80 percent (1990-1996). In 1995, 26 percent of Madagascarís total land area was forested.
Inadequate sewage disposal, as well as soil erosion caused by deforestation, has led to surface water pollution. In rural areas, only 30 percent (1990-1998) of the people have access to safe water. Only 40 percent (1990-1998) of the total population has access to safe water, and only 40 percent (1990-1998) has access to sanitation.
However, the country has a long history of conservation. Efforts are underway to increase wood supplies by reforesting eroded upland areas. The government has designated 1.9 percent (1997) of the countryís total land area protected, and the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve was declared a World Heritage Site in 1990. The government has ratified international environmental agreements pertaining to biodiversity, desertification, endangered species, marine life conservation, and ozone layer protection.
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