Madagascar Lowland Forest

by Clayton, Patrick, Aaron and Ethan

Where is Madagascar's Lowland Forest?

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

20.0000° S, 47.0000° E.

Animals and Extinction

17 species of lemurs, including the giant lemur, together with giant tortoises, the pygmy hippopotamus, and the elephant bird an enormous flightless bird related to the ostrich, became extinct after the arrival of the human settlers approximately 2000 years ago.

The other islands of the Madagascan region also suffered from waves of extinctions as a result of human arrival on the islands. Numerous bird species, including the famous Dodo of Mauritius, became extinct after human settlers arrived. Most of the islands also had one or more species of giant tortoise before humans arrived; 19 of 20 giant tortoise species are presently extinct, and only the Aldabra Giant Tortoise still survives.

Flora and Extinction

The rain forests of the world are estimated by scientists to contain 80% of the green flowering plants in existence and it is estimated that 2.5 acres of tropical rainforest may contain more than 750 types of trees and 1500 species of higher plants. With the loss of each acre of rainforest to farming, logging or other forms of development, hundreds of species disappear forever. The number of endangered rain forest plants is vast and rather than attempt to list every known species of plant that is endangered only two of the better known ones will be presented here.

Logging

Logging has occurred for:

  • shifting cultivation
  • grazing
  • fuel wood gathering
  • economic development
  • cattle ranching and
  • mining.

Many forests were destroyed in the search for precious woods such as ebony and rosewood. Other forest products such as raffia, beeswax, honey, lichens, and camphor were gathered for export. In addition to crops, the construction of railroads and their operation relied heavily on timber, intensifying the demand for wood.

Population

Population growth didn't become a factor in forest degradation in Madagascar until 1940, when vaccines were introduced that lowered the death rate. During the next 40 years the population increased rapidly from 4.2 to 9.2 million. This put a significant strain on the natural resources and estimates show that 4 million hectares of forests were cleared during this 40-year period.

Protecting

Population growth didn't become a factor in forest degradation in Madagascar until 1940, when vaccines were introduced that lowered the death rate. During the next 40 years the population increased rapidly from 4.2 to 9.2 million. This put a significant strain on the natural resources and estimates show that 4 million hectares of forests were cleared during this 40-year period.

Food Web

The top producer in the food chain of Madagascar are fruits, flowers, leaves. They are all types of plants which give the main consumers energy and the nutrients to keep them healthy. The Madagascar Ring tailed Mongoose is the primary consumer . It is a carnivore and is often located in groups up to 5. The secondary consumer is the Zebu it is a Zebra and cattle mix which is very rare to find in Madagascar. The people first started breeding this animal as far back as 3000 B.C. In Madagascar the tertiary consumer is the Fossa. It is a animal which can be only found in the forests of Madagascar. The fossa can grow to be up to 6 ft long and 26 pounds. It is one of the many Big Cats.

Introduced Pests

The End