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Madagascar: A Treetop Odyssey
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Directors/Producers: Milla Harrison-Hansley, Luc Marescot, Antoine de Maximy, and Andrew Cohen.
Additional Contributor/Actor: Jack Fortune.
Language: English
Dimensions: 135mm x 191mm x 15mm
Running Time: 50 minutes

Item Identification Code (UID#): 849
Shelving Location: Multimedia
Estimated Value: £5.00
Purchase Date: 13 October 2005
Purchased From: Log In to view this

Madagascar

A Treetop Odyssey

(Horizon)
BBC / Gedeon / Canal+ (2005).
DVD

Text from the Back of the Box

How a giant inflatable raft and a habitable metal tree house could save the rainforest of Madagascar.

Madagascar is home to one of the last untouched rainforests and some of the rarest plants and animals on earth. 75% are found nowhere else in the world. Much of this extraordinary diversity of life is found in the forest canopy, which up until now has been virtually inaccessible to scientists.

Situated off the coast of Africa, Madagascar has been cut off for 80 million years. This isolation has led to the evolution of unique animal and plant species. But the tropical rainforest, like many in the world, is under attack. Nearly 150,000km˛ of tropical forest is destroyed throughout the world every year, equivalent to the size of England and Wales combined. Even if it grows back, the diversity of the original forest is lost forever.

A team of 70 international scientists spent three months studying the rainforest in Mashoala [sic] Peninsula. Their mission was to document the forest's extraordinary diversity and to identify new species before they are lost forever.

By exploring the economic potential of the rainforest and exploiting its compounds without damaging the forest, the team could discover commercial opportunities. Their mission is to reach the canopy and try to unlock the biochemical resources of the rainforest. If they can, it could be the key to its survival for generations to come. It's a dangerous mission – and they've come up with some unusual ways to reach this unknown world including a giant inflatable raft and a habitable metal tree house.

Professor Francis Hallé, the expedition's botanist from the University of Montpellier in France, is an expert on the tropical rainforest. He believes that the most diverse habitat of all is the canopy, which is over 40m above the ground. Many undiscovered species live only in the tree tops and never set foot on the forest floor.

As the team's study of the forest progresses it becomes clear that the canopy is one of the most productive chemical laboratories on the planet. It contains raw materials for a wide range of industrial applications: flavourings, perfumes, medicinal substances and UV screens. Some of these molecules have already been exploited by man with remarkable results. The rosy periwinkle, a tropical rainforest plant, for example, produces anti-tumour agents that increase the survival rate of children with leukaemia from 20% to 80%.

Notes

  • First Broadcast: 13 October 2005 (BBC2)

Condition of Item

Very Good.

Refer to the glossary for definitions of terms used to describe the condition of items.

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