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Madagascar Geography Profile

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Location
Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique
Geographic coordinates
20 00 S, 47 00 E
Map references
Africa
Area
total: 587,041 sq km
land: 581,540 sq km
water: 5,501 sq km
Area - comparative
almost four times the size of Georgia; slightly less than twice the size of Arizona
Land boundaries
total: 0 km
Coastline
4,828 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or 100 nm from the 2,500-m isobath
Climate
tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south
Terrain
narrow coastal plain, high plateau and mountains in center
Elevation extremes
mean elevation: 615 m
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Maromokotro 2,876 m
Natural resources
graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, rare earth elements, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower
Land use
agricultural land: 71.1% (2011 est.)
arable land: 6% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 1% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 64.1% (2011 est.)
forest: 21.5% (2011 est.)
other: 7.4% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land
10,860 sq km (2012)
Population distribution
most of population lives on the eastern half of the island; significant clustering is found in the central highlands and eastern coastline as shown in this population distribution map
Natural hazards

periodic cyclones; drought; and locust infestation

volcanism: Madagascar's volcanoes have not erupted in historical times

Environment - current issues
erosion and soil degredation results from deforestation and overgrazing; desertification; agricultural fires; surface water contaminated with raw sewage and other organic wastes; wildlife preservation (endangered species of flora and fauna unique to the island)
Environment - international agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
world's fourth-largest island; strategic location along Mozambique Channel; despite Madagascar’s close proximity to the African continent, ocean currents isolate the island resulting in high rates of endemic plant and animal species; approximately 90% of the flora and fauna on the island are found nowhere else

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on Friday, November 27, 2020