Forest – Tree + Fire = Charcoal


This post is about Deforestation – an ongoing environmetal issue in this country

(warning this post has an extreme amount of images) 


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Walking, yes, a lot of walking, and walking. Sometimes you have the need to follow the crowd and sometimes you go where the wind takes you. In the last case ( the one I prever) I found myself in Fandriana. A quiet town, and oh so lovely.

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When I first arrived in Madagascar, I met up with a family I met back in 2001. They gave me a mobile phone, for in case I would get into trouble? mmm. The thing is, I’m not fond of carrying a phone around, when I travel. It makes me nervous. The thought that that tiny machine might start ringing at any time. ..And to worry about loading  up it’s batterie . . . I decided after a few days to switch it of. So, I passed the store in the image below.

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It’s a quiet town, and on a sunday, as the many market stands are closed. Uur four legged friends like to take a nap in the shadow

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These houses build of mud and brick are so nice. It just makes you want to have a chat with the owner. As most of the people here, spend their time outdoors. Hiding a bit for the afternoon heat.These homes are not that big. They are excually just right. Just the space you need for sleeping and eating.

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He and she could be thinking, in the image below ;

Hey, how did our family get up there, in that basket? As they also are looking for food, witch is mainly garbage really. I ate one chicken when I was there, but only once. These chickens eat everything they find. They’re a bit like an eel. A fish, cleaning the bottom of a river. (sort of the same thing as cleaning streets). Being in a country like this, really makes you think about these kind of things. Strange habits you might concider normal back home, seem to turn into a complete opposite. You find yourself looking at life, from a different point of view. And that is a good thing! Travels like these, are also a huge Mind cleaner! Back home, living in a big city, chicken is not on my menu. These animals have become ‘things’. They are not that animal anymore, that animal, that a huge power, bigger than us, created once upon a time.

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And, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking…Oh my, I even have an image of that chicken! Because I carried it with me during 45 minutes, and later on, left her in front of the kitchen floor. Imagine…imagine that you have to kill, I mean You, personally, have to end the life of the animal you want to eat… If that would be the case, Well then I’m allmost certain that at least half of the woman and man living in Amsterdam would turn into a vegetarian overnight!

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 I stayed with a family I met, back in 2001. (the man who’s sharpening the knife). And revisiting after 12 years really is something else. They wanted to celebrate my return and so did I!

The yellow ‘containers’ are filled with water and are bought in the nearby village. As there is no fresh water around, except for the water in the river, used for cleaning, shower and toilet. The family daniel needs to take a taxibrusse, a local bus, to get them refilled.

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Ok. that’s the story on the chicken. Now back to the main story

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Here (below) another image that is part of a project. My goodness, excually three in total. The reportage work I show here on my blog, my Hasselblad color slides, and my double exposures.

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Forest minus Trees plus Fire is also known as ‘a box of matches’.

The Malagasy have a strange habit of cutting trees and leaving them behind like this. It’s the cheapest and quickest way for them to have firewood. In some areas it can even be a bit dangerous to walk around. As dead trees can fall down.  The ‘juice’ of these trees is very flammable, and they use it to start fire ( the matches). But why do they not take of a branch for instance. Trees are an important part of the circle. And by chopping them down, or in this case slowly killing them, you are talking about deforestation.

Why do they cut at the centre of the tree? I’ve asked about this offcourse. But sadly it’s like that. It just does not make sence to me.

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Regarding to the tekst aboveHere some interesting information: 

Deforestation results into: desertification, water resource degradation and soil loss has affected approximately 94% of Madagascar’s previously biologically productive lands. Since the arrival of humans 2000 years ago, Madagascar has lost more than 90% of its original forest! 70% of the forest cover of Madagascar was destroyed between 1895 and 1925, while Madagascar was under French rule. Since 1953, half of the remaining forest has been lost. Largely due to deforestation, the country is currently unable to provide adequate food, fresh water and sanitation for its fast growing population.

One major cause of deforestation has been the introduction of coffee as a cash crop during the French colonial period.

Primary causes of forest loss include slash and burn for agricultural land (a practice known locally as tavy) and for pasture, selective logging for precious woods or construction material, the collection of fuel wood (including charcoal production), and forest clearing for mining.

So: Maybe it’s a good thing to think twice when you buy anything made out of wood. And check first where it’s coming from and that it’s not killing precious land!

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Image below: This man carries charcoal wrapped in a bag. It’s topped with eucalyptus leaves, and ready to sell.

Some eucalyptus species have attracted attention from horticulturists, global development researchers and environmentalists because of desirable traits such as being fast-growing sources of wood, and producing oil that can be used for cleaning and also as a natural insecticide, or an ability to be used to drain swamps and thereby reduce the risk of malaria but,

As I read and hereby copy: ” Outside their natural ranges, eucalypts are both lauded for their beneficial economic impact on poor populations  and criticised for being: ” invasive water-suckers”, leading to controversy over their total impact”.

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Below The stall of an ‘Ombiasy’ or medicine man

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Thanks for dropping by

14 Replies to “Forest – Tree + Fire = Charcoal”

  1. Ces maisons en terres rouges me rappellent à chaque fois des beaux souvenirs d’enfance…où nous avons passé un certain temps… qui me semblait l’éternité à mes petits yeux d’enfant… tellement la vie était décalée et semblait ne pas être dans le même échelle de temps que celle que nous vivions en ville…


  2. Good evening
    I have subscribed you with me.
    You deserve the many likes because your pictures are very beautiful.
    If you also subscribe to me you can better see better my articles that I have posted and then we know is Yes the eye with even liken.lass you be inspired by my pictures, even if vielses in German steht…machesmal is in English.How is your dear name?I’m Andrea and come from oberhausen which is located in the Ruhr area in Nrw.Komme like.
    Wish you a beautiful Saturday and Andrea sends vele hugs from me to you


  3. some great pics and some sad ones. you are right – the deforestation which goes on everywhere around you is a depressing part of travelling in Madagascar.


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