Rapid assessments and local knowledge reveal high bird diversity in mangroves of north-west Madagascar

Abstract

Although the importance of regulating and provisioning services provided by mangroves is widely recognised, our understanding of their role in the maintenance of terrestrial biodiversity is patchy globally and largely lacking for many regions, including conservation priorities such as Madagascar. We carried out the first multi-site bird inventory of mangroves in Madagascar and complemented our data with assessments of local knowledge, in order to broaden our knowledge of which species use this habitat. We directly observed 73 species across three sites in Ambanja and Ambaro Bays, while local respondents indicated the presence of 18 additional species: four observed species are globally threatened, while 37 are endemic to Madagascar or the Malagasy region. Over half the species observed are typically terrestrial, of which 22 have not previously been recorded in mangrove habitats in Madagascar. Local knowledge provided a useful complement to our observed data but we are likely to have underestimated total richness; nevertheless, our findings greatly increased our knowledge of mangrove use by Madagascar’s birds. However, further research is required to investigate the functional role of mangroves in the ecology of the observed species and provide insights into the factors influencing mangrove use.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Raymond Raherindray, Christian Randimbiarison, Bienvenue Zafindrasilivonona and Ferdinand Botsy for logistical support and assistance in the field, and to the members of Fizamiti, Ankameva and Tsy Omenkavana CLB and villagers of Andrekareka (Ankatafa), Ankazomborona and Antsahampano for facilitating our research and sharing their knowledge of the mangroves and their birds. We also thank WWF and l’Homme et l’Environnement for logistical support, and the Waterloo Foundation, Darwin Initiative and Global Environment Facility who funded the research. Leah Glass and three anonymous reviewers provided comments which improved an earlier version of the manuscript.

Funding

This research was carried out within the framework of mangrove conservation projects funded by The Waterloo Foundation (Award number 449-1421), The Darwin Initiative (Award number 19-016) and Global Environment Facility (Award number 4452). All awards were made to Blue Ventures Conservation.

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Correspondence to Charlie J. Gardner.

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Gardner, C.J., Andriamahenina, Z., Carro, A. et al. Rapid assessments and local knowledge reveal high bird diversity in mangroves of north-west Madagascar. Wetlands Ecol Manage 25, 45–58 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-016-9501-3

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Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Blue forests
  • Coastal environment
  • Conservation
  • Inventory
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)