In pictures: Madagascar's troubled environment Photos by Ed Kashi BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/africa/10338735.stm
Madagascar has an abundance of natural resources but these are being used at an alarming rate. When the land fails to provide, the Malagasy turn to the ocean. These farmers turned fisherman trawl for fish using mosquito nets.
Madagascar’s depleted forest system still provides the main livelihood for more than 70% of the population. This wood from Spiny Forest is used for everything from fuel to medicine.
Many people are being forced to exploit natural resources in order to survive. A rock breaker ekes out a living creating gravel and stones for buildings and roads in Bezavo, in the south of the country.
For many Malagasy, everything that is needed to sustain life comes directly from the land. Women gather swamp reeds for mats, baskets, and hats-a vital component of village industry.
Rice farmers prepare their fields for planting by using cattle to soften the muddy earth so rice shoots will take hold deeper in the soil. This is an ancient Malagasy tradition called “magnosy.”
Women bathe and brush their teeth in a local swamp. The land and it’s resources are used for virtually all aspects of their lives, even if their health could be threatened.
Men pack their baskets with fresh catches of the day. These “fish-runners” then run for more than three miles (nearly 5 km) to trucks that will take the fish to markets around this part of Madagascar.
Giant brick kilns, fueled by firewood, are a common sight – and another cause of rapid deforestation in the area. Workers bake clay into bricks, their faces obscured by smoke.
Rituals surrounding death remain an important part of the culture in southeast Madagascar, but these burial grounds once private places hidden by forest are now exposed.