The fate of Madagascar's rainforest habitat

Nature Climate Change
By: , and 



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.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The fate of Madagascar's rainforest habitat
Series title Nature Climate Change
DOI 10.1038/s41558-019-0647-x
Volume 10
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Nature
Contributing office(s) Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center
Description 8 p.
First page 89
Last page 96
Country Madagascar
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