Illegal gold mining is on the verge of wiping out an iconic wetland forest in the heart of Madagascar’s flagship national park, according to a new paper. Forest loss due to mining is a recent and growing trend in Ranomafana National Park, and the finding highlights fears that much of Madagascar’s remaining wilderness could succumb to the twin threats of deep poverty and organized crime.
“In Ranomafana, it seems like the central pandanus wetland that we had is gone,” Mar Cabeza, the lead author of the paper in the journal Animal Conservation, told Mongabay. “We know that habitat is being destroyed at a large scale. What we don’t know is how permanent it is,” she said.