Analysis of deforestation patterns in the central Menabe, Madagascar, between 1973 and 2010
The central Menabe region still holds the largest remnant of dry forest in western Madagascar. These forests are home to high floral and faunal diversity including a number of local and regional endemics. The forests of the central Menabe have been classified as conservation hotspots. However, pressure on these forests is strong and deforestation continues on a large scale. To quantify recent forest loss, we used a series of satellite images (1973–2010) for estimating annual deforestation rates. The overall rate was 0.67 %, but it accelerated during certain periods to over 1.5 % with a maximum of 2.55 % per year between 2008 and 2010. Not all areas within the forest block of the central Menabe are affected similarly. Areas surrounding existing clearings show the highest losses of largely undisturbed forest. If deforestation continues at the same rate as during the last years, 50 % of the 1973 forest cover will be gone within the next 11–37 years.