Deforestation in Madagascar

What is the nature or context of your issue/problem?
o Is your issue a local one or does it reflect a regional or global phenomenon?
o How does it reflect an unsustainable relationship between humans and the natural world? How might it reflect a larger problem in this respect?
• What is/are the root cause(s) of your issue/problem? These could be economical, political, social and/or cultural in nature.
o How did this issue come about?
o What is its history?
o When and where did we get off track?
• What is at stake?
o Why should we care?
o What is being lost due as a result of this environmental issue/problem?
o How might it be jeopardizing future livelihoods and the livability of the planet?
• Why does it persist?
o What factors are in play that makes it challenging to find solutions to the problem at hand? These factors could be economical, political, and/or social factors.

Deforestation in Madagascar

For the longest time, people in Madagascar have been clearing forest vegetation by burning trees to convert land for farming, grazing, and human settlement.  With the Northeastern region, a relatively contiguous tropical rainforest zone profoundly affected Conservation International is working closely with the Government of Madagascar to restore and reclaim forest vegetation.


Over the last decade, deforestation in Madagascar has drawn the global attention of scientists, environmentalists, and philanthropists across the world. Madagascar is home to one of the largest biodiversity sites that retain a high level of carbon in the atmosphere to balance the critical ecosystem (NASA Land Cover/ Land-Use Change Program).

The unsustainable relationship between humans and the natural world. Over the years, deforestation has caused a paradigm shift in the natural world. There has a distinct and explicit change in the ecosystem. The planet is under constant stress due to the extreme exploitation of forest resources. As a result, this will dramatically affect the sustainability of the present and future generations. Deforestation in Madagascar for food production has created an imbalance in the ecosystem that has further deteriorated the agricultural prospects. Deforestation destroys the natural habitats for unique species and increases soil erosion and the Co2 levels in the atmosphere. Loss of the forest vegetation reduces agricultural production, which simultaneously destabilizes human existence due to the growing human population explosion. Deforestation in Madagascar is a severe issue, long-lasting, and irreversible effects on the environment as well as the population. Burning fuels causes a drastic increase in carbon. High levels of carbon cause an increase in earth temperature resulting in global warming. On the other hand, deforestation causes habitat loss leading to a reduction of endangered species and a decline in biodervisity. Forests in Madagascar are richly diverse and harbor unique breeds of organisms that are pertinent for sanctuaries and climate regulation across the world (Megan 61).  Deforestation also increases soil erosion and river contamination, which is the leading cause of severe droughts in Madagascar.


Some of the causes of deforestation include conflicts, wildfires, logging, and burning fuels; however, people in Madagascar deforest due to increased population growth to create land for food production (Megan 67). Although the island is relatively small, it is home to millions of people that rely on farming to meet their daily needs.

History of deforestation in Madagascar. Deforestation on the island dates to the colonization period late 1800s, when biodiversity was in abundance. The France colonizers cleared forest cover to convert land for coffee farming.  After independence, the residents of the island continued to clear forest vegetation but primarily for food production. According to AAAS satelight images, most of the areas that are the heavily deforested are the low tropics where there is rapid population growth (Green and Sussman 212).

When and where did we get off track.After independence, the residents of the island continued to clear forest vegetation but primarily for food production (Green and Sussman 212).


Madagascar is home to one of the most abundant biodiversity that contributes to global biodiversity.  It houses the rarest species that play a unique role in the ecosystem. On average, there are more species in Madagascar than there is the African continent. According to USAID, one hectare of forest loss in Madagascar can enormously affect global biodiversity than to any other ecosystem (USAID).  Therefore deforestation in Madagascar is a serious issue that requires urgent comprehensive intervention.  It is, therefore, our collective duty to protect and employ conservative actions to reduce deforestation in Madagascar.

Long term effects of deforestation in Madagascar. Madagascar has been negatively impacted by the ongoing rise in deforestation in the rich tropical rainforests. The great gullies in the mountainous region of Madagascar have been eroded into rivers degrading a significant percent of the once fertile land, as evident in the Northeastern part, where farmers are experiencing little to no harvest due to contaminated rivers and infertile soils.  Loss of Madagascar’s forest has caused a decline or extinction of endangered species. Today it is estimated that 8000 species are at risk of extinction. For instance, the Pinstripe dambo species, a rare fish commonly found in the low topographic areas in Madagascar has dramatically declined. According to environmentalists, this decline represents the possibility of extinction. This extinction is caused by the introduction or destruction of its natural habitats caused by deforestation.

Future livelihood and the livability of the planet. Deforestation in Madagascar is jeopardizing the global food system. Tree cutting contributes to a quarter of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Scientists estimate that continuous increase of these figures will make earth inhabitable due to high temperatures, severe floods, and drought.  Deforestation is disrupting the natural order of things (Global Enviroment Facility). The natural world is a diverse system with organs, which means that all the elements and structures should function collectively to accomplish equilibrium between natural resources exploitation and conservation. Furthermore, the destruction of the natural habitat of biological organism’s species interferes with the ecosystem. The ecosystem is saturated with harmful micro bacteria, fungi, species that destabilize the structure and function of the ecosystem to sustain its population,

Reasons for persistent deforestation in Madagascar. Increased population growth caused by extreme poverty is the primary driver of deforestation in Madagascar (USAID). Most of the people in Madagascar live in abject poverty and have no access to education, thus hinders economic development in the region.

Works Cited

Global Enviroment Facility. Protecting land and livelihoods in Madagascar. 21 May 2019. March 2020.

Green, GM and RW Sussman. “Deforestaion History of the eastern rain forests of Madagascar from satelight images.” Science (1990): 212-248.

Megan, Clark. “Deforestation in Madagascar: Consequences of Population Growth and Unsustainable Agricultural Processes.” Global Majority E-Journal (2012): 61-71.

NASA Land Cover/ Land-Use Change Program. Deforestation in Madagascar. 2019. April 2020.

USAID. Enviroment and Climate Change. 17 March 2017. 2020.




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