Precious and semi-precious stone mines, legal or not, are born, die, and spring back to life all over Madagascar.Much of the gem mining in Madagascar is unofficial and therefore unregulated, so the immediate impacts are high, both envirnmentally and socially. But people seldom examine the long-lasting effects.Toward the end of 2016, photoreporter Arnaud De Grave spent several months in the country’s eastern Alaotra-Mangoro region, in an area experiencing a mining recession.His photos show the toll of mining on people’s lives and the landscape. ALAOTRA-MANGORO, Madagascar — Mines, legal or not, are born, die, and spring back to life all over Madagascar. It has been this way since the 1990s. Some become famous, such as the recent one near Didy, a small town in the country’s eastern Alaotra-Mangoro region. In November 2016 a London-based gemologist published a video showing a sapphire rush and the resulting environmental downfall of a large area inside Didy’s Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor protected area. Bushmeat hunting, forest degradation, and the impact of more than 45,000 people coming to mine there for a few weeks took a heavy toll on the landscape and wildlife. A similar rush had happened in the area in 2012. Much of the gem mining in Madagascar is unofficial and therefore unregulated, so the impacts are high, both environmentally and socially. Even when the mining sites are remote, often hours or even days of walking from a neighboring town, during the peaks of activity everyone lives and breathes alongside the mine. It can disrupt the local economy: the price of chicken can triple locally, as it is easy to bring to the mine site and keep fresh if alive. Crime, prostitution (miners are mostly men), and child labor rise. Near the town of Andilamena, about 110 kilometers (68 miles) north of Alaotra-Mangoro’s capital city of Ambatondrazaka, this pattern has unfolded many times. The rush, the money, the mass migration. Then the mine dies. Or another one with better promises of fast riches is born somewhere else. And it all falls down. Then, some years later, the cycle starts again. Madagascar’s Alaotro-Mangoro region. Map courtesy of Google Maps. I was curious: what happens after the fall? For the ones who stay? The environmental and social disaster that unfolds while a mine is active has been well documented all over the country. But people seldom examine the long-lasting effects. I spent several months in the Alaotra-Mangoro region toward the end of 2016 as part of a three-year-long ethnography-inspired photography project that I undertook for the Swiss-led scientific endeavor AlaReLa (which stands for Alaotra Resilience Landscape). The area I visited is situated some 200 kilometers (124 miles) northeast of Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, and is considered the country’s rice granary. It is also highly biodiverse. A notable resident is the critically endangered Alaotran gentle lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis), which is endemic to the vicinity of Lake Alaotra. The forest east of the lake is largely included in Zahamena National Park, which is part of the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor, a strictly protected area — on paper, anyway. Several mining sites are, or have been, in operation in the corridor, most recently the one in Didy late last year. During my travels I visited the sleepy mining town of Andilamena, a nearly abandoned gem mine, and an active quartz mine, as well as villages and byways in between. I investigated the options for local people now that gem mining in the immediate area was in recession. Some residents worked in legal semiprecious stone quarries. Some worked in the remaining local businesses associated with farming and herding. And some had gone to join an active mine, such as the one about 130 kilometers (81 miles) away in Didy. I interviewed and photographed around three-dozen people: miners, former miners, people who improved their livelihoods, and people who lost everything.