Marojejy National Park, Madagascar

Marojejy National Park, Madagascar

Marojejy harbors a remarkably diverse set of plants and animals, many of which are endemic to the area. This is due primarily to the wide range of habitats found on these mountain slopes. Ninety percent of Marojejy National Park is covered in forests which are extremely varied and unevenly distributed. Many factors influence the distribution and structure of these forests, but the most important are the wide elevational span and the rugged topography seen in these mountains.

Elevation influences the air temperature, its daily fluctuations, and the humidity levels, and all of these things in turn influence the growth and development of plants. In general, as one climbs in elevation in Marojejy, one encounters four basic forest types:

• Low-Altitude Evergreen Rainforest (below 800 m): Sheltered from strong winds and stimulated by consistently warm temperatures and abundant rainfall, these are dense evergreen forests with tall trees and many palms, ferns, and epiphytes. The canopy here is 25–35 m high. In disturbed areas, secondary growth consists primarily of bamboo, wild ginger and ravinala.

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