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July 16, 2005
The fourth-largest island in the world and home to five percent of the world's plant an animal species, Madagascar is a nation of unique beauty in the Indian Ocean. This true-color Terra MODIS image from July 1, 2005, shows the island from a height of 705 kilometers above the planet's surface (the height at which MODIS flies). Clouds gather on the northern windward (eastern) side of the island where steep cliffs and bluffs protect a central highland that gradually descends toward the lowlands on the western coast. The island is currently in its cooler dry period, which lasts from May to October. Accordingly, a number of smaller fires have sprung up on the island, mostly in the north and central portions. Tropical forests create a broken green stripe down the western side of the island; countless species that can only be found on this island live in these forests, as well as in dwindling forests farther inland on the plateau.

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