A Jonah’s mouse lemur (M. Jonahi). Image by Dominik Schüßler There’s nowhere on Earth quite like Madagascar when it comes to the sheer wealth and wonder of biodiversity. But along with its natural richness, the island nation is beset by grinding poverty and increasingly erratic climate patterns, which threaten both people and wildlife. As in the rest of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic compounded many of these problems. But 2020 was not without its bright spots, not least the discovery of yet more species new to science — showing, yet again, just how much of a natural treasure trove Madagascar really is. Mongabay has rounded up, in no particular order, the big environmental issues of the past year for Madagascar. Pandemic Souvenirs being sold near ‘Baobabs in Love,’ a popular tourist destination in southwest Madagascar. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. The coronavirus pandemic dominated news coverage much of this year, including in Madagascar, which reported its first cases in late March. The immediate effects of border closures, tourists’ disappearance, and difficulties in implementing conservation activities were visible early on in the year. Over the months, the coronavirus crisis’s longer-term impacts have become clearer, with the country expected to plunge deeper into poverty, intensifying reliance on natural resources like forests that are already under immense stress. Madagascar witnessed a convergence of calamities this year, from surging forest fires to an unprecedented drought. Fires and drought An archival photo showing burnt dry forest in western Madagascar. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. While fires in…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer