Mangroves, between Ifaty and Belalanda
|Borders||Madagascar dry deciduous forests, Madagascar subhumid forests, Madagascar succulent woodlands, Madagascar spiny forests|
|Animals||green turtle, hawksbill turtle, dugong|
|Bird species||Madagascar heron, Madagascar fish eagle|
|Area||5,200 km2 (2,000 sq mi)|
|Climate type||Tropical monsoon climate (Am), hot semi-arid climate (BSh), and hot desert climate (BWh)|
Mangrove swamps are located in flat coastal areas where the ocean tides wash salt water high into the mouths of rivers which are bringing nutrient-rich soil down to the coast. For mangroves to thrive, there needs to be some natural feature such as coral reefs to shelter the coast from ocean storms and monsoons. In Madagascar, they are mostly found on the more sheltered west coast along the Mozambique Channel, where they stretch along roughly 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) of coastline. The largest areas are in the estuaries of the Betsiboka River (in Bombetoka Bay near the city of Mahajanga), Besalampy, the Mahajamba and South Mahavavy river, and near Maintirano. The climate is warm all along the coast but more humid in the north.
The mangrove trees found in Madagascar are mainly Rhizophora mucronata, black mangrove (Bruguiera gymnorhiza), Ceriops tagal, white mangrove (Avicennia marina), Sonneratia alba and Lumnitzera racemosa. Other species are Xylocarpus granatum and Heritiera littoralis.
Mangrove swamps, in Madagascar and around the world, are an important habitat for wildlife. They are a vital breeding ground for many species of fish and a feeding place for migratory birds. The waters of the Madagascar mangroves are rich in fish and other animals such as waterbirds, crocodiles, green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), and dugongs. Birds include the African spoonbill, great egret, sakalava rail and grey heron. Much of this wildlife is endemic to Madagascar. The many fish found in the waters include the families Mugelidae, Serranidae, Carangidae, Gerridae, Hemiramphidae, Plectrorhynchidae and Elopidae. Neighbouring coral reefs are also extremely diverse.
Threats and conservation
Mangroves are vulnerable to clearance for timber, urban expansion, over-fishing, and erosion in the highlands. Activities such as rice growing, salt-panning and shrimp cultivation are also threats. Urban areas near the mangroves include the cities Toliara and Mahajanga. Mananara Nord National Park protects some mangrove swamps.
- Tognetii, S. (2004). "119 – Madagascar Mangroves". In Burgess, N.; D'Amico Hales, J.; Underwood, E.; et al. Terrestrial Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar: A Conservation Assessment (PDF). World Wildlife Fund Ecoregion Assessments (2nd ed.). Washington D.C.: Island Press. pp. 425–426. ISBN 978-1559633642. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-11-01.
- "Madagascar Mangroves". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.