Between August and September, fires caused by slash-and-burn agriculture destroyed over 3,212 acres of forest in Ankarafantsika National Park in northwestern Madagascar. Madagascar’s environment minister Alexandre Georget told reporters that the country needs help from the international community, especially in securing fire-fighting aircraft. “Every year, around 120,000 hectares [297,000 acres] of forest disappear, mostly as a result of slash-and-burn farming. If the destruction continues at this rate, Madagascar will be completely deforested in 40 years,” said Georget.
Madagascar's government is proposing to pay illegal loggers for access to their illicit stockpiles of rosewood in an effort to clear the way for the wood to be exported legally and eliminate all stockpiles of the wood to make it easier to keep tabs on any new logging. The illicit stockpiles are the product of a wave of illegal logging in the country's national parks during a political crisis surrounding a 2009 coup d'état.
On May 22, a Madagascar appeals court announced its decision to uphold the conviction of a farmer turned environmental activist who was convicted on criminal charges after questioning a mining company about its permits. The case began last September, when the farmer, who goes by the name Raleva, confronted representatives from Mac Lai Sima Gianna, a Chinese-Malagasy gold mining company, during a meeting in his village of Vohilava. Raleva asked to see the company’s permits, which had not in fact been granted.