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Madagascar has many serious environmental problems. One major problem they have is associated with destruction of the environment. This is especially true when it comes to the issue of deforestation

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Introduction

Madagascar's Environment Sandra Nicholas SCI-270 Western International University Online July 31, 2005 Madagascar's Environment Madagascar has many serious environmental problems. One major problem they have is associated with destruction of the environment. This is especially true when it comes to the issue of deforestation. Another major problem Madagascar suffers from is soil degradation that is over a significant part of its land mass. Forests that once covered the eastern third of the island have now been degraded, fragmented, and converted to scrub land. Spiny forests in the south are rapidly giving way to "cactus scrub" as local vegetation is cut and burned for subsistence charcoal production. Madagascar's rivers look like they are bleeding the country to death as soil is eroded away from the central highlands. Each year as much as a third of the country burns and 1% of its remaining forests are leveled. Madagascar has experienced steady population growth throughout the twentieth century. Furthermore, the average rate of population growth itself has increased from 2.3 percent in 1975 to 3.1 percent over the 1980 to 1990 decade. This rate has made Madagascar one of the most rapidly growing countries in Africa, with a large youthful population--in 1992 nearly 55 percent of the population was under twenty years of age. The increase in population is significantly influenced by Madagascar's increasingly healthy and youthful population. ...read more.

Middle

Much of the illegal felling of trees was completely overlooked and the fines that were levied for violation of the permits were far lower than the actual damages. The combination of these detrimental government policies meant that roughly 70% of the primary forest was destroyed in the 30 years between 1895 and 1925. It is interesting to note that the much publicized "population growth" issue didn't become a factor in forest degradation in Madagascar until 1940 when vaccines were introduced that lowered the death rate. During the next 40 years the population increased rapidly from 4.2 million to 9.2 million, and some 4 million hectares of forests were cleared during this 40 year period, as compared to between 3 and 7 million hectares in the 40 year period from 1900 through 1940. (Madagascar: Colonialism as the historical root cause of deforestation, January, 2003) Tavy is an agricultural system in which patches of forest are cleared, then burned, and not cultivated continuously, such that periods of fallow are longer than the periods during which a plot is cultivated. Tavy is mostly used for converting tropical rainforests in Madagascar into rice fields. Typically an acre or two of forest is cut, burned, and then planted with rice. After a year or two of production the field is left fallow for 4-6 years before the process is repeated. ...read more.

Conclusion

The stems form a belt that block flying sand. The roots are fragrant, with distillation yielding 2- 3% of a valuable essential oil. The young leaves are fodder for livestock. The roots along with the stems and leaves can be used to make various artistic handicrafts, pulp for paper, and pressed panels. Vetiver grass can be used in Madagascar for erosion control and for road and embankment stabilization. Visual sightings of Vetiver plantings confirm that Vetiver grass, if grown correctly, can be used throughout Madagascar for conservation and stabilization purposes with a high degree of certainty in its efficiency and effectiveness. For ten years now, the National Institute for Soils and Fertilizers has been carrying on experiments using Vetiver grass to create hedgerows to protect the soil in cultivation on sloping land in a number of midlands provinces to the North. (Grimshaw, R. October 28 to November 25 1997) Success in conserving wild lands in Madagascar will require reconciling the unavoidable conflicts between short-term needs of local people and long-term nature of the benefits that conservation can generate on sustainable ongoing basis. Deforestation and Soil Erosion can be slowed, according to Vietnam testing of the grass, if Madagascar would try the Vetiver grass to control the environmental problems. I have listed many other ways also, but from my research the Vetiver grass seems to be the best option in fixing or at least controlling the problems of erosion. ...read more.

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