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Animals

Why seed-banking threatened species in Madagascar is vital

Large-scale clearing of island’s ecosystems means native trees and lemurs are in danger of extinction

Madagascar has lost nearly a quarter of its forest cover since 2001. Slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging and charcoal production have resulted in the large-scale clearing of ecosystems formed during the 88m years since the island separated from India.

Nearly all lemur species are now threatened with extinction, as is much of Madagascar’s biodiversity. Forest conservation and the development of sustainable sources of timber and charcoal, while reforesting large areas, are key challenges this century, especially for the millions of Malagasies whose livelihoods depend on them. As the planet heats, seed-banking threatened plant species has become an urgent task.

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