Cape Sainte Marie Special Reserve and extension

Site description (2001 baseline):

Site location and context
This site, also called Cape Vohimena, is located 60 km south-west of Tsihombe. It is the southernmost headland in Madagascar, lying on a calcareous plateau. Soils are sandy. Steep cliffs delimit the southern and western boundaries of the site. There are no permanent watercourses in the area, only small, temporary streams that flow to the sea following rare heavy rain. Wind-stunted xerophilous bushland (up to 1.2 m) covers c.90% of the site. The most common woody species are Commiphora and Salvadora, with local species of Aloe and Megistostegium also present.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Thirty-six species are known from this site, of which 18 are endemic to Madagascar. There is a large population of Coua verreauxi at the site.

Non-bird biodiversity: Reptile: Geochelone radiata (VU); a very large population occurs in the reserve.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Various pressures threaten the site. A lighthouse was erected within the reserve in 1971, and the employees and their families live nearby. They have cleared some 5 ha of the bushland for food cultivation. Intensive goat-grazing also occurs. Several tons of leaves, seeds and roots are collected each year for sale in traditional medicine. In 1985, workers from Tolagnaro, who were building new facilities around the lighthouse, consumed tortoises Geochelone radiata found in the area.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Cape Sainte Marie Special Reserve and extension. Downloaded from on 09/12/2023.