Research Highlights - Madagascar Forests
Madagascar has a unique flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth, but habitat destruction has taken the majority of tropical forests throughout the country. Science and conservation must grapple with a diminishing range of habitats, but the terrain is rugged and field work has not produced reliable estimates of remaining forest habitat and its condition. Satellites have also not been successful due to persistent cloud cover and their coarse resolution relative to the highly dissected mountain terrain.
Scientists from the Carnegie Institution, Good Planet and WWF-Madagascar are using the CAO to quantify forest three-dimensional structure which defines habitat extent and quality. The CAO data also indicate variation in forest carbon stocks - information that is bringing conservation investments to the region for carbon offsets.
Like most tropical forests, the entire web of life relies on forest canopy structure for habitat and sustenance. Madagascar's lemurs are no exception.
A view of a summit area with high forest carbon stocks (red), and down the mountain into lowland areas with low to no remaining forest carbon.