Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The fate of Madagascar's rainforest habitat

December 23, 2019

Madagascar has experienced extensive deforestation and overharvesting, and anthropogenic climate change will compound these pressures. Anticipating these threats to endangered species and their ecosystems requires considering both climate change and habitat loss effects. The genus Varecia (ruffed lemurs), which is composed of two Critically Endangered forest-obligate species, can serve as a status indicator of the biodiverse eastern rainforest of Madagascar. Here, we combined decades of research to show that the suitable habitat for ruffed lemurs could be reduced by 29–59% from deforestation, 14–75% from climate change (representative concentration pathway 8.5) or 38–93% from both by 2070. If current protected areas avoid further deforestation, climate change will still reduce the suitable habitat by 62% (range: 38–83%). If ongoing deforestation continues, the suitable habitat will decline by 81% (range: 66–93%). Maintaining and enhancing the integrity of protected areas, where rates of forest loss are lower, will be essential for ensuring persistence of the diversity of the rapidly diminishing Malagasy rainforests.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title The fate of Madagascar's rainforest habitat
DOI 10.1038/s41558-019-0647-x
Authors Toni Lyn Morelli, Adam B. Smith, Amanda N. Mancini, Elizabeth A. Balko, Cortni Borgerson, Rainer Dolch, Zachary Farris, Sarah Federman, Christopher Golden, Sheila Holmes, Mitchell Irwin, Rachel Jacobs, Steig Johnson, Tony King, Shawn Lehman, Edward E. Louis, Asia Murphy, Hery N. T. Randriahaingo, H. L. Lucien Randrianarimanana, Jonah Ratsimbazafy, Onja H. Razafindratsima, Andrea Baden
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Nature Climate Change
Series Number
Index ID 70211497
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

Related Content