Long considered both best friend and worst enemy to humankind, fire is at once creative and destructive. In the endangered tropical paradise of Madagascar, the two faces of fires have fueled a century-long conflict between rural farmers and island leaders. For the farmers, wildland burning plays a key role in sustaining their agricultural livelihood and maintaining control of the island's rangelands, croplands, and woodlands. For the government, fire is the chief threat to the island's economic development and environmental stability. Kull argues that the antifire polemics of Madagascar's leadership are misdirected and that the most dangerous conflagration is the blaze that is fanned by the disagreements between outside authorities and farmers.
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