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A species in the genus Crateva (Capparaceae) from Madagascar
A species in the genus Crateva (Capparaceae) from Madagascar


The world’s fourth largest island — an area larger than California and Oregon combined — Madagascar is both a botanical treasure and a conservation challenge of immense proportions. The island’s geographic isolation — it drifted from Africa some 165 million years ago and now lies in the Indian Ocean about 400 km east of Mozambique — has resulted in an unusually large number of endemic plants and animals. Ninety percent of Madagascar’s estimated 12,000 to 14,000 plant species do not exist elsewhere, and virtually all are under severe threat, primarily because of the country’s alarming, population-driven rate of agricultural expansion. About 70 percent of Madagascar’s 16.5 million people live below the poverty line. Only about 10 percent of Madagascar’s natural vegetation survives, and in some critical areas that figure is closer to two percent.

Despite decades of collecting by French and other European botanists during colonial times (1886-1960), large areas of Madagascar were virtually unknown botanically until recently, and others still remain to be explored. The Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) has conducted botanical research in Madagascar for more than three decades and has maintained a full-time presence since 1984. MBG’s programs have successfully integrated plant collecting, training of local residents, and support for local institutions. Expanding upon this work, we are conducting various projects aimed at protecting biological diversity and saving native habitats.

For more information, contact
Armand Randrianasolo
Chris Birkinshaw

Learn more about the Missouri Botanical Garden’s program in Africa and Madagascar

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Director, CCSD, Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166 Phone: (314) 577-0871 © 2014