Madagascar Assessment

Mobilising Freshwater Biodiversity Information for Better Representation within Protected Areas in Madagascar

A two year (2015-2017) project has been funded by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF)

The aim of this project is to improve the conservation of freshwater biodiversity in Madagascar largely through facilitating greater representation of freshwater species within the nation's protected areas network. This will be achieved through mobilising the large body of existing, but largely inaccessible, information on the distribution and status of freshwater species.

The importance and urgency of this project is evidence from the poor status of the freshwater species, showed by the last official assessment of Madagascar's freshwater fish in 2004 at which time approximately 85% of the endemic species, for which sufficient data were available, were assessed as being threatened, with an additional three species already Extinct and another Extinct in the Wild.

The collated data will enable completion of IUCN Red List assessments for a number of representative freshwater species groups and the subsequent identification, delineation and validation of freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). KBAs can form the basis for a more representative protected areas network for freshwater biodiversity throughout Madagascar.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas represent two powerful and internationally respected conservation tools not yet widely available for application to the conservation of Madagascar's freshwater ecosystems. This project will make these tools available to civil society within Madagascar enabling them to influence political and economic decision-making in favour of biodiversity and conservation priorities for freshwater ecosystems.

Madagascar Endemic Freshwater Fish Assessment

The project funded by Conservation International involved assessing and mapping 100 species of freshwater fish endemic to Madagascar. An alarming report was published in 2004.

Building on the work of the IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group Conservation and Management Planning workshop in 2000, 100 species of freshwater fish endemic to Madagascar were assessed and mapped. Alarmingly 54% of these species were found to be threatened and a further 4% are already Extinct. This is the highest level of threat recorded for any other similar taxonomic grouping within the IUCN Red List. The report was completed in September 2004 and has been submitted to Conservation International to feed into their ongoing conservation programme in Madagascar.

The main threats to the Madagascar fishes were identified as:

i) Deforestation of associated catchments. This activity has led to increased sedimentation of river habitats, particularly spawning beds, erosion of river banks leading to alterations in water flow, and loss of nutrient input.
ii) Introduced exotic fish species. A number of non-native freshwater fish species have been introduced for fishery and aquaculture purposes. These species will often present a major threat to the endemic species through predation and competition for resources.
iii) Conversion of wetland habitats for farming, particularly for rice fields. A number of taxa (e.g. Pantanodon spp.) are dependant upon wetland habitats such as marshlands. The loss of these habitats has had a clearly negative impact on these reliant taxa.

Madagascar freshwater fish
Conservation International

This project was funded by Conservation International

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    Photo: CEPF

IUCN Red List Assessessment of Madagascar's Freshwater Fishes