Deforestation in Madagascar

Updated 10:33 PM ET, Fri August 31, 2012
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The spectacular baobab trees are a landmark of Madagascar, a large island located off the southeastern African coast. AFP/Getty Images
The baobab is often described as "the upside down tree" due to its unusual shape -- its branches look like roots sticking up in the air. AFP/Getty Images
Six out of the eight species of the baobab tree are endemic to Madagascar. The tree's trunk could reach a diameter of nine meters and a height of 18 meters.
Madagascar is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. About 90% of the island's wildlife exists nowhere else on the planet. AFP/Getty Images
Baobab trees have long been used for various purposes, including providing food, shelter and water to rural communities in Madagascar. AFP/Getty Images
Madagascar has lost about 90% of its forest to deforestation over the centuries as poor rural communities try to make the most of the resources that surround them. AFP/Getty Images
Environmentalists say that activities like slash-and-burn agriculture, logging and charcoal production are all destroying the island's forests. AFP/Getty Images
The government has undertaken a series of initiatives to save its precious forests by marking many regions in the country as national parks. CNN