MORONDAVA is a city located in MENABE REGION of which it is the capital, in Madagascar. It is located in the delta of the MORONDAVA RIVER.
The TSINGY de BEMARAHA STRICT NATURE RESERVE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located 150km north of Morondava. The road from Morondava is poor, but Tsingy de Bemahara is reachable b 4×4 in approximately 10hrs. In the south there is the ANDRA NOMENA RESERVE.
Here one can also see the DRY DECIDUOUS FORESTS that represent a tropical dry forest eco-region generally situated in the western part of Madagascar. The area has a high numbers of endemic plant and animal species, but has suffered large-scale clearance for agriculture. This clearance is on-going and therefore WWF has designated these forests as a GLOBAL 200 eco-region, one of the world’s most crucial regions for conservation.
The MANAMBOLOMATY lake area, in particular, is home to many species of fish and birds. It is also home to distinctive limestone KARST formations. The forest span the coastal plain with its limestone plateaus emanating virtually at sea level to higher altitudes to 800mts. The area includes wetlands and grasslands as well as dry forest that has a “deciduous canopy” extending to a height of 14-30mts, and lower storeys with dense shrubs and saplings, which may also contain some evergreen species.
These dry deciduous forests of Madagascar possess a very high ratio of “species endemism”, although the absolute number of total endemics is less than the wetter eastern rainforests of the island. Trees have adapted to the drier climate by shedding leaves in the dry winter season (May to September) to limit evapotranspiration. Moreover, some species like Baobabs have adapted by evolving the ability to store copious water in their large bulbous trunks. An interesting feature of these dry forests is the presence of PACHYPODIUM HABITATS, often associated with hot dry conditions of life in a landscape of canyons and tsingy (limestone karst outcrops). One well-known area is ANKARANA.
As well as lemurs, the dry forests are home to the island’s largest predator, the FOSSA, and some smaller carnivores. Among reptiles, the ANGONOKA TORTOISE is also endangered. The lakes and rivers of the dry forest region are homes to most of Madagascar’s bird species.
The dry forests have almost entirely been destroyed by overgrazing and deforestation and there has also been slash-and-bur subsistence farming in much of the area, reducing forest habitat and applying pressure to some endangered species. Slash-and-burn is a method, sometimes used by shifting cultivators to create short-term yields from marginal soils. After clear-cutting and burning a residual sparse, sometimes sterile grassland savannah remains. When practised repeatedly or without intervening fallow periods, the nutrient-deficient soils may be exhausted or eroded to an unproductive state. Because trees grow slowly in rocky soils, regeneration time may be measured in centuries, but the toll of extinct species is permanent. Protection of these dry forests would assist in preservation of these diverse ecosystems.