Protected area surface extension in Madagascar: Do endemism and threatened species remain useful criteria for site selection ?
The ‘hotspot approach’ considers that endemism and threatened species are key factors in protected area designation. Three wetland and forest sites have been proposed to be included into Madagascar’s system of protected areas (SAPM – Système des Aires Protégées de Madagascar). These sites are Manambolomaty (14,701 ha) and Mandrozo (15,145 ha) in the west and Bemanevika (37,041 ha) in the north. Biodiversity inventories of these three sites recorded 243 endemic species comprised of 44 reptiles, 54 amphibians, 104 birds, 23 small mammals, 17 lemurs and one fish. Of these 243 species, 30 are threatened taxa comprising two Critically Endangered (CR), 11 Endangered (EN) and 17 Vulnerable (VU) species. The long term ecological viability of these sites has been shown by population stability of the two Critically Endangered flagship species, the Madagascar fish eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides) in Manambolomaty and Mandrozo and the recently rediscovered Madagascar pochard (Aythya innotata) in Bemanevika. Other threatened species and high biological diversity also justifies their inclusion into Madagascar’s SAPM.