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Location Madagascar, Fianarantsoa
Central coordinates 45o 15.00' East  22o 23.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 81,540 ha
Altitude 510 - 1,268m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Asity Madagascar (Affiliate)

Site description This site is 180 km long and 20–25 km wide, and is located 3 km from Ranohira. It consists of a large sandstone massif, with a peculiar ruinlike aspect, that rises out of a plain. This chain of outcrops includes deeply eroded canyons, the most famous of which are Monkey Canyon and Rat Canyon. The hydrographic network is composed of clear, fast-flowing streams, which drain into the tributaries of the Menamaty in the east, and into those of the Mangoky and Malio in the west. There are also marshes, such as at Andranovorinkaolo, as well as lakes, such as the Golden Lake, whose flora includes Polygonum, Echinochloa, Panicum and Cyperus. Forest covers 10% of the park’s area, and comprises three types. The dense, dry deciduous forest, mainly composed of Commiphora and Dalbergia, is relatively degraded. Gallery forest is dominated by Eugenia, Tamarindus and Mangifera—one area of this type, Andranofotsy, in the north of the park, has an area of c.240 ha. Low- and mid-altitude, dense, humid evergreen forest occurs in the shelter of canyons and is composed of Voacanga, Nuxia, Weinmannia and Tambourissa. The understorey is composed of thick clumps of ferns Blechnum. The vegetation on open areas of bare rock includes species of Pachypodium, Kalanchoe, Senecio, Aloe, Helichrysum and Euphorbia. Wooded savanna covers 40% of the site’s area, and includes trees of Stereospermum, Albizia, Borassus, Pemphis and Dicoma. Open savanna, with or without scattered palms (of Bismarckia and Hyphaene) is more common.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Eighty-one species are known from the site, of which 27 are endemic to Madagascar. The range of Monticola bensoni is restricted to the Isalo–Zombitse Vohibasia region, including Analavelona (IBA MG066) and possibly the Mangoky canyons (MG063). It appears to have a rather patchy distribution within the park, being absent from large areas in the centre.

Non-bird biodiversity: Lemurs: Mirza coquereli (VU), Propithecus verreauxi verreauxi (VU), Lemur catta (VU).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Madagascar Grebe Tachybaptus pelzelnii resident  1995  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Madagascar Crested Ibis Lophotibis cristata resident  1995  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Madagascar Pond-heron Ardeola idae breeding  1995  present  A1  Endangered 
Madagascar Marsh-harrier Circus macrosceles resident  1995  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Henst's Goshawk Accipiter henstii resident  1995  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Giant Coua Coua gigas resident  1995  present  A3  Least Concern 
Monticola bensoni resident  1995  present  A1, A2  Not Recognised 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Isalo National Park 86,567 protected area contains site 81,540  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   49%
Grassland   49%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

Further web sources of information 

Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This site has been identified as an AZE due to it containing a Critically Endangered or Endangered species with a limited range.

References Andriamampianina and Peyrieras (1972), Farkas (1971), Hawkins and Raharimalala (1995), Jenkins (1987), Langrand and Goodman (1996), Nicoll and Langrand (1989).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Isalo (Isalo National Park IBA). Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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