The site covers the gorges of the Rivière du Mat and the Bras de Caverne, together with associated plateau areas from 160 m to 1,430 m. The Rivière du Mat drains the Cirque de Salazie, leaving it through a gorge a few hundred metres across. The Bras de Caverne drains the Bélouve plateau, above and south-east of the same cirque, and flows into the Rivière du Mat close to the narrowest point of the gorge. The tall cliffs resulting from powerful erosion are partly covered with well-preserved stands of mixed moist evergreen lowland forest; extensive scree and bare rock also occur. The floor of the gorge contains the riverbed, a road and a few habitations and cultivated areas.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. The site is particularly important for Puffinus lherminieri (about 10 colonies), Circus maillardi (8–12 pairs in 1998) and Collocalia francica (probably several colonies), but also supports a typical community of native, forest-living birds.
Non-bird biodiversity: Endemic plant communities: wide diversity of native plants.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mouth of the Cirque de Salazie. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 10/07/2020.