Mahafaly Plateau Forest complex

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
This site includes the Hatokaliotse and Linta Forests, located 140 km south of Toliara and 77 km west of Ejeda. A plateau of eroded karst, it is delimited to the west by a north–south-running escarpment, with cliffs and steep slopes. There are no permanent rivers, but freshwater sources occur in the swallow-holes that are scattered across the plateau. Linta Forest comprises two forest blocks, Antsihanaka and Sambatio. The vegetation is composed of xerophilous bushland (2–5 m high, with emergents up to 10 m high), dominated by Didierea, Alluaudia and Euphorbia, with a very dense understorey, often difficult to access. Cedrelopsis trees are found mainly in the forest along the bottom of the cliff, and there are also plantations of non-native prickly-pear cactus Opuntia. The eastern and north-eastern areas of the Antsihanaka Forest are less rich in Didiereaceae and the canopy is no higher than 2 m.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Fifty-eight species are known from this complex, of which 31 are endemic to Madagascar. The site is the southern limit known for the distribution of Calicalicus rufocarpalis, a species described in 1997.

Non-bird biodiversity: Lemur: Lemur catta (VU). Reptiles: Geochelone radiata (VU), Pyxis arachnoides (VU).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
This is the driest area in Madagascar and the density of the human population is quite low. The bushland is a seasonal refuge and pasture area for cattle, especially during dry periods. Threats to the forest include cutting of wood for construction, and conversion to cultivation, of maize in particular.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mahafaly Plateau Forest complex. Downloaded from on 20/03/2023.