49. Mahajamba Bay • Madagascar

We have selected 100 unique places on Earth that are projected to
undergo profound changes within the next few generations.

We based our selection of the 100 places on the 4th Assessment
Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Simply by drawing attention to the beauty of these places, 100 Places to
Remember Before they Disappear creates an argument to preserve
them.

The 100 Places we have chosen to highlight, and the people who
live in them, are in serious danger because of rising sea levels, rising
temperatures and extreme weather events triggered by climate change.

Among ambassadors are Joss Stone, Desmund Tutu for more info visit http://www.100places.com.

A Delicate Balance in the Mangrove

The Republic of Madagascar is slightly bigger than France its former colonial master and is the fourth largest island in the world. Madagascar is in the Indian Ocean, some 800 km off the east coast of Africa. Separated from the mainland 80 million years ago, the island is home to a unique mix of plants and animals, many of them found nowhere else on Earth.

The central mountains protect the 3,300 square kilometres of mangrove wetland along the western coastline from the eastern trade wind and the monsoon winds. Coral reefs protect it from the ocean swells of the Mozambique Channel.

Endless communities of molluscs, crustaceans, turtles and tropical fish thrive among the entwined roots of the mangrove, providing food for rare indigenous birds like the Madagascar Teal, the Madagascar Plover, the Madagascar Kingfisher and the Madagascar Fish Eagle. The mangrove is also an important habitat for migratory birds such as plovers, the African Spoonbill and the Great White Egret.

With a tidal range of up to four metres and an influx of fresh water from the numerous rivers that flow down the mountains, the mangroves ecosystem not to mention the commercial shrimp farms established there are at the mercy of a very delicate saline balance. Any rise in sea levels or seawater temperature, both of which are happening as a result of global warming, could tip that balance. Higher temperatures combined with increased acidity might eventually destroy the coral reefs that protect the mangrove, further exacerbating saline intrusion.

The outcome could be a drastic reduction in the size of the mangrove, which would pose a severe threat to the shrimp farms and to the habitat that supports such a wide diversity of animal life.