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October 22nd, 2013
Mapping Essential Ecosystems in the Land of Rice

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Madagascar is a land of rice. Everything about this place — land use, water use, income and poverty, nutrition and food security, deforestation and habitat loss — can be measured in terms of rice. The second thing you have to know is that Madagascar is hungry … and growing.

Conservation International (CI) is attempting to map out — literally — the links between nature and people in Madagascar. It is one of many efforts to remind people at all levels — local communities, civil society, public officers, corporations — that in order to save their own skin, they need to save the living “skin” of this country. After all, it is Madagascar’s vegetation and biota that filters their water, makes their air breathable and provides refuge from the storm.

Scientists have already done much of the work to map Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) — the most important areas for species’ survival — in Madagascar. But CI’s mission now encompasses people, too. So to these existing maps, we are seeking to add new ones. Maps depicting ecosystems that are critical for providing fresh water, for food, for climate resilience and for recreational and cultural values.

Read more in the Conservation International blog

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