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Sahamalaza-Iles Radama Biosphere Reserve, Madagascar

Located on the north-west coast of Madagascar, this biosphere reserve contributes to the conservation of three specific habitats: dry semi-deciduous forest, mangrove forest and coral reefs.

The forest is one of the few remaining patches of dry littoral forest on the west coast of Madagascar. The outer coral reef, about 5-10 km west of the Radama Islands, protects an ancient coral reef on its western side, forming the Madagascar's slope. The bay of Sahamalaza, which can reach a depth of 20m includes a large area of ​​mangrove.

Designation date: 2001


Regional network: AfriMAB

Ecosystem-based network:




    Surface: 153,200 ha

    • Core area(s) : N/A
    • Buffer zone(s): N/A
    • Tansition zone(s): N/A

    Location: N/A

    Administrative authorities

    Guy Suzon Ramangazon
    Lot Al 10 C Ambatobe - B.P. 1424
    103 Antananarivo

    Tel.: +261 344941538


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    Ecological Characteristics

    The Sahamalaza-Iles Radama Biosphere Reserve contains a diversity of habitats and ecosystems.

    The marine ecosystem, comprises coral reefs, sea grass beds, steep reefs, sandy-muddy sea beds and mud flats. It contains 216 species of corals and invertebrates, 168 species of fish, 3 species of marine mammals (Dolphins, whale).

    The Sahamalaza Biosphere Reserve also contains mangroves covering an area of 10 000 ha. The 8 species of mangroves known to Madagascar are represented. The mangroves are inhabited by mangrove crabs, fish, shell-fish that are exploited by the local population. The mangrove habitat is ecologically important for the conservation of 5 species of threatened birds including the Haliaeetus vociferoides or Madagascar Sea-Eagle.

    The third ecosystem comprises the low, dry coastal forest covering 11 100 ha, hosting local endemic species of lemurs in danger of extinction, such as the Eulemur macaco flavifrons and Hapalemur samalazensis.

    Socio-economic characteristics

    Agricultural activities are mainly carried out around villages. The exploitation of resources by slash-and-burn cultivation of rice has led to widespread deforestation of the area. With a particularly diversified ecosystem and considerable marine resources, the maritime zone of the Sahamalaza peninsula is a favorable place for fishing. Thousands of fishermen maked their living from this trade.

    A number of tourists visit the area by sea from Nosy Be to Radama Islands for scuba diving. Tourist operators from Nosy Be organize boat trips and there is no contact with the local population or with the managers of the Biosphere Reserve. Thus, this activity brings no benefits for region. The annual number of visitors is estimated at 200 people. 



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    Last updated: January 2019