Zahamena National Park and Strict Reserve

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
Zahamena National Park is located 40 km north-east of Ambatondrazaka and 4 km from Manakambahiny-East. The terrain is very undulating, with several steep-sided valleys. The park is in two areas, west and east, partially separated by a large enclave which includes several villages. The valleys are drained by rivers, the most important of which are the Sahatavy and its tributary, the Sarondrina. A network of rivers in the north-west of the park flows into Lake Alaotra (IBA MG046). At low altitudes the dense, humid evergreen forest has a canopy 15–20 m high and 25-m-high emergents, typically with trees of Tambourissa, Weinmannia, Diospyros, Ravensara and Dalbergia. The shrub layer is dominated by tree-ferns Cyathea and screw-pines Pandanus. There are also areas of secondary forest. The dense, humid evergreen forest extends to mid-altitudes, above which there is dense, sclerophyllous montane forest. The forest on the slopes has a denser shrub and ground layer, dominated by herbs (Impatiens, Begonia) and ferns Polystichum.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. A total of 109 species are known from the site, of which 67 are endemic to Madagascar. The only species characteristic of humid forest that is not yet known from the site is Crossleyia xanthophrys. The park is therefore the protected area with the largest number of endemic bird species in Madagascar.

Non-bird biodiversity: Lemurs: Allocebus trichotis (CR), Phaner furcifer (nt), Eulemur rubriventer (VU), Varecia variegata (EN), Indri indri (EN), Propithecus diadema diadema (EN), Daubentonia madagascariensis (EN). Carnivores: Galidictis fasciata (VU), Salanoia concolor (VU), Cryptoprocta ferox (VU), Eupleres goudotii (EN), Fossa fossana (VU). Reptile: Boa manditra (VU).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Zahamena is one of the few protected areas to include low-altitude forest. Threats include slash-and-burn cultivation and hunting (in the centre, east and north) and fires and tree-cutting (in the west).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Zahamena National Park and Strict Reserve. Downloaded from on 21/04/2019.