Madagascar boasts one of the most diverse and exciting eco-systems in the world with many species waiting to be found. Many of the species of fauna and flora cannot be found elsewhere, meaning scientists have always got something to look forward to in terms of new discoveries. It is also, however, one of the poorest countries which leaves its people struggling to cope with the problems of the changing modern world.
What is new then for Madagascar? Firstly, to the fantastic flora – Madagascar has added to its already complex family of orchid; – with the discovery of new species of the Cynorkis Thouars orchid (1). The country already has over 170 species of orchid – around 120 of these (1) being indigenous to Madagascar. Due to the destruction of habitat, despite having only been discovered recently, plant specialists have already put the new find on the ‘red list’ of plants which are critically endangered.
Staying on the topic of Madagascar’s fantastic flora, it has made the news elsewhere with the president (Hery Rajaonarimampianina) visiting Kew Gardens for a meeting with scientists, members of Kew’s specialist team that work on Madagascar, representatives of the UK government, members of DEFRA and several others. In this meeting the president explained his vision and plans for Madagascar’s unique environment and also talked on broader topics such as Global Warming. He pointed out how Madagascar is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity (3) and then went on to highlight his plans to conserve and support it. He highlighted the same approach as that of MFM – the only way that the environment can be maintained is to support the population so that they do not need to exploit it. His words were welcomed as he highlighted the importance of dealing with global warming and extending protected areas to reduce human impact on the natural world.
This is not the only example of Madagascar trying to ‘do its bit’ in the face of world issues. Recently the European Union (EU) has also been working with Madagascar to find sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to meet energy needs. The EU has also helped Madagascar with hydro-electric and solar power projects which form part of the ‘New Energy Policy’ - partly funded by the EU. (2)
If you feel that you could help Madagascar, please do consider making a donation. Anything you give would help to support both the environment and the people of Madagascar. For more information or to make a donation, please see https://moneyformadagascar.org/
By Matthew Ward