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Madagascar lowland forests

The Madagascar lowland forests are a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion, found on the eastern coast of the island of Madagascar.



The ecoregion constitutes a narrow strip of lowland forests between Madagascar's east coast and the mountainous central highlands, from sea level to 800 meters elevation. It covers and area of approximately 112,600 square kilometers. The ecoregion is under the direct influence of the moist southeast trade winds, which maintain a warm, humid climate.

The lowland forests extend from Marojejy in the north to the southeast corner of the island. At the northern edge of ecoregion around Vohemar , the moist forests transition to the drier Madagascar dry deciduous forests ecoregion. To the east, at approximately 800 meters elevation, the lowland forests transition gradually to the Madagascar subhumid forests ecoregion. The southern end of the ecoregion lies at the crest of the Anosyennes Mountains , where a narrow belt of dry transitional forest marks the transition to the xeric Madagascar spiny thickets ecoregion in the mountains' rain shadow.


The lowland forests are characterized by dense evergreen forests, with a canopy exceeding 30 meters. Typical canopy species include Dalbergia, Diospyros, Ocotea , Symphonia , and Tambourissa ; emergents of Canarium, Albizia, and Brochoneura acuminata rise above the canopy. The lowland forests have a rich diversity of Pandanus, bamboo, and epiphytic orchid species.


The lowland forests represent a great reservoir of diversity and endemism. nearly all of Madagascar's endemic mammal genera are represented there, including all five families of lemurs. 15 species and subspecies of lemurs are endemic and near-endemic to the ecoregion, including the aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), hairy-eared dwarf lemur (Allocebus trichotis), two subspecies of ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata, V. rubra), indri (Indri indri), Eastern woolly lemur (Avahi laniger), diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema diadema), Milne-Edwards’ sifaka (P. d. edwardsi), silky sifaka (P. d. candidus), golden bamboo lemur (Hapalemur aureus), greater bamboo lemur (H. simus), white-collared lemur (Eulemur fulvus albocollaris), collared lemur (E. f. collaris), and red-bellied lemur (E. rubriventer).

Protected areas

It is estimated that only a third of the original lowland forest remains intact. Seven percent of the lowland forests that remain are protected in national parks and reserves, including Masoala National Park , Mananara Biosphere Reserve (including Verezanantsoro National Park ), Ambatovaky Special Reserve , and Zahamena Integral Nature Reserve and National Park .

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