The Natural History of Madagascar

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2004-01-01
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Separated from the mainland of Africa for 160 million years, Madagascar has evolved an incredible wealth of biodiversity, with thousands of species that can be found nowhere else on earth. For instance, of its estimated 12,000 plant species, nearly 10,000 are unique to Madagascar. Malagasy animals are just as spectacular, from its almost forty currently recognized species of lemursa primate group found only hereto the numerous species of tiny dwarf chameleons. With astounding frequency scientists discover a previously unknown species in Madagascarand at almost the same rate another natural area of habitat is degraded or destroyed, a combination that recently led conservation organizations to name Madagascar one of the most important and threatened conservation priorities on the planet.The Natural History of Madagascar provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date synthesis available of this island nation's priceless biological treasures. Contributions by nearly three hundred world-renowned experts cover the history of scientific exploration in Madagascar, its geology and soils, climate, forest ecology, human ecology, marine and coastal ecosystems, plants, invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Detailed discussions of conservation efforts in Madagascar highlight several successful park reserve programs that could serve as models for other areas. Beautifully illustrated throughout, the book includes over one hundred color illustrations, with fifty color photos by nature photographer Harald Schuuml;tz, as well as more than three hundred black-and-white photographs and line drawings.The Natural History of Madagascar will be the invaluable reference for anyone interested in the Malagasy environment, from biologists and conservationists to policymakers and ecotourists.

Author Biography

Steven M. Goodman is a field biologist at the Field Museum of Natural History and a coordinator of the ecology training program at the WWF-Madagascar. He is coeditor of Natural Changes and Human Impact in Madagascar.

Jonathan P. Benstead is a postdoctoral scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Acronyms Used in the Text Points on Format and Presentation
History of Scientific Exploration
The History of Zoological Exploration of Madagascar
Geology and Soils
Some Hypotheses on the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Paleoenvironmental History of
Mesozoic Terrestrial Vertebrate Faunas: The Early History of Madagascar's Vertebrate Diversity
Late Cretaceous Vertebrates of Madagascar: A Window into Gondwanan Biogeography at the End of the Age of Dinosaurs
Madagascar's Prehistoric Ecosystems
Using Geological Substrate to Identify and Map Primary Vegetation Types in Madagascar and the Implications for Planning Biodiversity Conservation
The Climate of Madagascar
Forest Ecology
Remaining Forest Cover
Rapid Methods for Characterizing Forest Structure in Madagascar
Littoral Forest
Human Ecology
The Rise of Malagasy Societies: New Developments in the Archaeology of Madagascar
Relationship between Human Ecological Pressure and the Vertebrate Extinctions
Comparing Agricultural Systems in Two Areas of Madagascar
The Dilemma of Reducing Shifting Cultivation
The Fianarantsoa-East Coast Railroad and Its Role in Eastern Forest Conservation
The Role of Socioeconomic Factors in Loss of Malagasy Biodiversity
Horning How Rules Affect Conservation Outcomes
Fire and the Management of Highland Vegetation
Human Diseases and Introduced Small Mammals
Marine and Coastal Ecosystems
Marine and Coastal Ecosystems
Mangroves and Salt Marshes
Sea Turtles
Marine Mammals
Megaptera novaeangliae Humpback Whale
Introduction to the Flora of Madagascar
Aquatic and Semiaquatic Vascular Plants
Introduced and Invasive Plants
Occurrence of Alkaloids and Phenolics in Malagasy Forests and Responses by Primates
Pollination Ecology of Plant Communities in the Dry Forests of the Southwest
Bacillariophyceae, Freshwater Diatoms
Diversity, Ecology, and Distribution of the Pteridophyte Flora
Checklist to the Pteridophytes
Moraceae, Ficus and Associated Fauna
Pollination and Evolution of Euphorb Vines in Madagascar
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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