The importance of littoral forest remnants for indigenous bird conservation in southeastern Madagascar

Watson, James E. M., Whittaker, Robert J. and Dawson, Terence P. (2005) The importance of littoral forest remnants for indigenous bird conservation in southeastern Madagascar. Biodiversity and Conservation, 14 3: 523-545. doi:10.1007/s10531-004-3913-8

Author Watson, James E. M.
Whittaker, Robert J.
Dawson, Terence P.
Title The importance of littoral forest remnants for indigenous bird conservation in southeastern Madagascar
Journal name Biodiversity and Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0960-3115
Publication date 2005
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10531-004-3913-8
Open Access Status
Volume 14
Issue 3
Start page 523
End page 545
Total pages 23
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Abstract The littoral forests of Madagascar are relatively unexplored ecosystems that are considered seriously threatened by deforestation and habitat fragmentation. We set out to describe the bird communities inhabiting the littoral forest remnants in three different sub-regions of southeastern Madagascar to determine the national importance of these forests for bird conservation. In total, 77 bird species were found inhabiting 14 littoral forest remnants. Of these species, 40 are endemic to Madagascar and a further 21 are endemic to the Indian Ocean sub-region, consisting of Madagascar, the Comoros and the Mascarenes. The matrix habitats (Melaleuca forests, marécage swamp forest, Eucalyptus plantations and Erica grassland) that immediately surround the littoral forests were depauperate of bird species and contained few species that were found within the littoral forests. The geographic location of littoral forest remnants had an important role in determining what bird species occurred within them, with the northern remnants having similar bird communities to nearby humid forest whilst the most southern remnant had a bird community that resembled those of nearby spiny forest habitats. Eleven bird species that have been previously described as being habitat-restricted endemics to either spiny forests or humid forests, were found in littoral forest remnants. These results suggest that these littoral forests may play an important transitional role between the two other major natural habitats (spiny forest and humid forest) of southeastern Madagascar. On this basis we advocate that the littoral forest remnants of southeastern Madagascar should be afforded continuing conservation priority.
Keyword Birds
Humid forests
Littoral forests
Spiny forests
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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