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This image taken by astronauts on the International Space Station is of the mouth of the largest river in Madagascar. The Betsiboka River runs into the Betsiboka Estuary seen here. Decades of logging have cleared so much forest land in Madagascar that eroded soil clogs the river. When tropical storms strike, as in this image of when tropical Cyclone Gafilo struck the island in March 2004, the rate of erosion is even greater. Viewing this scene caused the astronauts to say that Madagascar is “bleeding into the ocean.” Fortunately the government of Madagascar is working to reverse the problem by reducing erosion, encouraging reforestation, and controlling land clearing.


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