Rainforests of the Atsinanana, Madagascar

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Rainforests of the Atsinanana, Madagascar
Christy Haakenson
Introduction to Life Science
Paula Roberts
March 27, 2011

The Rainforests of the Atsinanana is a place like no other. The continent of Madagascar can be found 200 miles off the east coast of Africa and completed full separation from all other land masses more than 60 million years ago (Staff W., 2001). The island of Madagascar has lived in isolation and with isolation gives the Rainforests of Atsinanana an abundance of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. This unique place is made up of six national parks and was approved by UNESCO committee in New Zealand (WWF, n.d.). The Rainforests of Atsinanana is currently on the list of world heritage sites in danger because of government influenced illegal logging and lemur bush meat consumption (WWF, n.d.).

Madagascar is a “biodiversity hotspot” (PFM, 2009). Atsinanana is home to approximately 12,000 plant species known in Madagascar in which 80% of the species and nine of the plant families cannot be found anywhere else in the world (PFM, 2009). With the rainforests of Atsinanana in Madagascar obtaining an amazing biodiversity, scientists believe there are two main reasons for this. First, Madagascar has been isolated for more than 60 million years, and second that it has seven different ecoregions, ranging from tropical rainforests to deserts. These two reasons scientists have found combined give organisms enough time and variety of habitats to adapt to giving the Rainforests of the Atsinanana a variety of plants and animals.

The six national parks on the eastern part of the island are important for maintaining the continuing ecological system (2005). This ecological system is extremely important for the survival of the biodiversity within the island. The rainforests of the Astinanana hold their importance for the ecological and biological processes as well as the biodiversity and the species that are threatened (2005).

The Rainforests of the Atsinanana in Madagascar began establishment in 1927 when a network of 12 natural reserves set up. In 1958, the national parks were established by the government decree. From 1985 through the 1960s there were 23 special reserves established and consultations began with the local people. 1970, government funding was considerably reduced and any foreign visitors were denied access. 1997-1999, nominated national parks created existing Nature Reserves. In 2001, the national Protected Area Management code was adopted (UNEP, n.d.). Sadly in 2010, the Rainforests of Atsinanana were listed and “in danger.”

Madagascar’s shape looks similar to California and is the world’s fourth largest island (Ward M, 2008). Madagascar is located on the Indian Ocean, and 200 miles off the southeast coast of Africa. From north to south the island measure 1,650 kilometers in length. On the east side of the island, there is a plateau edge that falls steeply from the Betsisimana escarpments to a more narrow coastal plain. The nominated parks are sited in this belt, which is 15 to more than 50 kilometers wide with 1,400 kilometers of mountainsides (UNEP, n.d.). The Rainforests of the Atsinanana is the definition of this ecoregion of the eastern mountain rainforest (UNEP, n.d.). The forests in Madagascar are important for species during the change of climate and for adapting and survival needs of species in future climate changes.

Madagascar is amazingly beautiful and home to many endemic species or species that can be found no other place in the world. These unique creatures including many types of Lemur species; Aye-aye, Bamboo, Black, Dwarf, and Indri, which are considered endangered (Ward M, 2008). Madagascar is home to more than 50 different kinds of lemurs. The Lemur (Latin for “ghost”) is classified as a primate and can be compared to gorillas and even humans. Along with Lemurs part of the primate group, they are classified as prosimians. This classification of...
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