"– Open and organized plundering, sometimes using firearms, of precious wood from several natural forests, including national parks such as Marojejy and Masoala, which have been declared World Heritage Sites.
– Intensified smuggling of wild species, especially reptiles such as tortoises, to the national and international markets.
– Proliferation, due to the current impunity, of destructive practices such as illegal mining and slash-and-burn agriculture within protected areas and environmentally sensitive areas."
This event and tragedy illustrate an interesting and disturbing phenomenon: as security in Madagascar falls, poaching and deforestation should be expected to rise, but only to a point. If political instability continues to degrade, and an open civil war begins, we should probably expect less deforestation, as people and companies flee the area. Currently, lawless bands see instability as a way to make quick money, but if open warfare breaks out, they will focus their efforts on survival. I will explain.
The J Curve was a book by Ian Bremmer, published in 2006 that made the assertion that very repressive, closed states (like Cuba or North Korea) are relatively stable, and very open, democratic states (like Western Europe and the U.S.) are extraordinarily stable. However, nations that are transitioning from closed societies to open societies are inherently unstable, and are at great risk of either backsliding towards repression (like Russia over the last decade) or of collapsing into anarchy (like the collapse of Mobutu's Zaire or Milosevic's Yugoslavia). This phenomenon is best shown by the accompanying graph, shaped like a 'J.'