Why you should care
Because 85 percent of the island’s species aren’t found anywhere else on Earth.
Life Amongst the Thorns, written by husband-and-wife conservationists Louise Jasper and Charlie Gardner, with a foreword by nature-loving legend Sir David Attenborough, takes readers on a visual yet informative journey through one of the remotest places on Earth: Madagascar’s Spiny Forest. Ninety-five percent of the plant species found in this hot and arid forest along Madagascar’s Turquoise Coast can be seen nowhere else on Earth. That means a trip here is truly like traveling to another planet. Madagascar, a giant island nation with an identity crisis, is itself the most biodiverse place on Earth. That means it contains more unique plants, animals and insects than anywhere else.
In their book, created in partnership with WWF Madagascar, the British-born duo chronicles some of the country’s rarest flora and fauna and the threats facing them, like drought, poaching and imposing farming techniques. They also showcase the conservation work being done to save animals on the brink of extinction, such as the radiated spider tortoise or lime green and electric blue reptiles that have been decimated by the illegal, but booming, pet trade. But the couple has become known in conservationist circles for their discovery of a new population of dwarf lemurs. Jasper calls the Spiny Forest one of the most beautiful places she’s ever been. Until you can visit yourself, here’s a sneak peek inside. (The book can be found on Amazon for just under $35.)
—Reporting by Taylor Mayol