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Deforestation and plant diversity of
Madagascar's Littoral Forests


Littoral forest shapefile
Littoral forest shapefile

The eastern littoral forest, which biogeographically corresponds to sites near sea level on sand within Madagascar's humid bioclimatic region, is one of the most highly threatened and impacted vegetation types in the country, and is almost surely condemned to extinction unless immediate steps are taken to preserve it.

Change in littoral forest cover from original to current extent was estimated using Geographical Information System (GIS) tools, remote sensing data (both satellite imagery and low elevation digital photography), and environmental data layers. Our results indicate that 10.3% of the original littoral forest remains in the form of small forest parcels, and that only 1.5% of these remaining fragments are included within the existing protected areas network. (Consiglio, T. et al, (2006) Conservation Biology 20: 1799-1803).

Additionally, ca. 13% of Madagascar's total native flora has been recorded from what was originally less than 1% of its total land surface, and that over 25% of the ca. 1,574 plant species known from littoral forests are endemic.

However, in 2003 at the World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, Madagascar's President Marc Ravalomanana charged his government and its NGO partners with formulating recommendations for the addition of 4.5 million hectares to the protected areas network. The first set of areas proposed by a governmentally appointed advisory group for this initiative in early 2005 includes 15 parcels of littoral forest totaling 19,880 ha, which represents 41.5% of remaining littoral forest.

Table 1. Remaining littoral forest fragments that currently lack protection and have been recommended for incorporation into Madagascar's protected areas network.
Name Area
(hectares)
Aerial images
Lac Sahaka 2,200
Ambondrobe 2,650
Pointe a Larree 1,475
Ile Sainte Marie 1,190
Tampolo 740
Mahatsara 85
Antetezana 485
Vohibola 2,150
Ambila-Lemaitso 1,175
Nankinana 1,820
Ambahy 1,720
Mahabo 1,240
Sainte Luce 1,580
Mandena 535
Petriky 835
Aerial Image Metadata
Aerial Image Metadata


Species Lists for Littoral Sites

 
 
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