Evidence for drought and forest declines during the recent megafaunal extinctions in Madagascar

  title={Evidence for drought and forest declines during the recent megafaunal extinctions in Madagascar},
  author={Malika Virah-Sawmy and Kathy J Willis and Lindsey Gillson},
  journal={Journal of Biogeography},
Aim  There remains some uncertainty concerning the causes of extinctions of Madagascar’s megafauna. One hypothesis is that they were caused by over‐hunting by humans. A second hypothesis is that their extinction was caused by both environmental change and hunting. This paper systematically addresses the second hypothesis through examination of two new pollen records from south‐eastern Madagascar alongside other published records across the island. 
Climate change and human colonization triggered habitat loss and fragmentation in Madagascar
While mid‐Holocene climate change probably triggered major demographic changes in the two lemur species range and connectivity, human settlements that expanded over the last four millennia in northern Madagascar likely played a role in the loss and fragmentation of the forest cover.
Synergy between climate and human land-use maintained open vegetation in southwest Madagascar over the last millennium
Madagascar experienced environmental change during the Late-Holocene, and the relative importance of climatic and anthropogenic drivers is still the subject of an ongoing debate. Using
Genetic data suggest a natural prehuman origin of open habitats in northern Madagascar and question the deforestation narrative in this region
It is shown that contrary to most regions of Madagascar, the forest cover in Daraina remained remarkably stable over the past 60 y, and the golden-crowned sifaka, a forest-dwelling lemur, underwent a strong population contraction before the arrival of the first humans, hence excluding an anthropogenic cause.
Rain Forest Fragmentation and Environmental Dynamics on Nosy Be Island (NW Madagascar) at 1300 cal BP Is Attributable to Intensified Human Impact
Madagascar houses one of the Earth’s biologically richest, but also one of most endangered, terrestrial ecoregions. Although it is obvious that humans substantially altered the natural ecosystems
Drivers of unique and asynchronous population dynamics in Malagasy herpetofauna
A long history of isolation coupled with complex landscapes makes Madagascar ideal for exploring the historical factors that have shaped patterns of population diversity and endemism. Many
Drought Coincided with, but Does Not Explain, Late Holocene Megafauna Extinctions in SW Madagascar
Climate drying could have transformed ecosystems in southern Madagascar during recent millennia by contributing to the extinction of endemic megafauna. However, the extent of regional aridification
Early Human Colonization, Climate Change and Megafaunal Extinction in Madagascar: The Contribution of Genetics in a Framework of Reciprocal Causations
Early Human Colonization, Climate Change and Megafaunal Extinction in Madagascar, and the Contribution of Genetics in a Framework of Reciprocal Causations, 2022.
Late Miocene origin and recent population collapse of the Malagasy savanna olive tree (Noronhia lowryi)
A population genetic analysis of an endangered Malagasy shrub of the Central Plateau found a highly contrasting nuclear and plastid genetic structure, suggesting that pollen-mediated gene flow allows panmixia, while seed-based dispersal may rarely exceed tens of metres.


Late Holocene Environmental Changes in Arid Southwestern Madagascar
  • D. Burney
  • Geography, Environmental Science
  • 1993
Abstract A 5000-yr stratigraphic record containing fossil pollen, charcoal, and bones of the extinct Quaternary megafauna from Andolonomby, a hypersaline pond in arid southwestern Madagascar, shows
Megafaunal extinction: climate, humans and assumptions.
The Evolution of Extinction Risk: Past and Present Anthropogenic Impacts on the Primate Communities of Madagascar
The total evidence refutes any simple, unicausal explanation of megafaunal extinctions, yet unequivocally supports a major role – both direct and indirect – for humans as the trigger of the extinction process.
Environmental change, extinction and human activity: evidence from caves in NW Madagascar
In the last 2000 years, changes on the island of Madagascar have resulted in the modification of key environments and the extinction of nearly all large native animals. Humans have long been
Rates, Patterns, and Processes of Landscape Transformation and Extinction in Madagascar
Inferring cause and effect from the fossil record is not a wholly satisfying enterprise. The evidence is stale. Many useful details are missing, perhaps never to be found. Sequential events may be
Threshold response of Madagascar's littoral forest to sea‐level rise
Aim Coastal biodiversity hotspots are globally threatened by sea-level rise. As such it is important to understand how ecosystems resist, respond and adapt to sea-level rise. Using pollen,
How does spatial heterogeneity influence resilience to climatic changes? Ecological dynamics in southeast Madagascar
Conceptual models suggest a link between spatial heterogeneity, diversity, and resilience, but few empirical studies exist to demonstrate such an ecological relationship. In this study, we
Climate change impacts and vegetation response on the island of Madagascar
  • J. Ingram, T. Dawson
  • Environmental Science, Mathematics
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2005
An analysis of 18 years of monthly satellite images from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) have demonstrated that there is a dynamic pattern in Madagascar's vegetative cover both annually and seasonally throughout 1982–1999.
Determinants of loss of mammal species during the Late Quaternary ‘megafauna’ extinctions: life history and ecology, but not body size
  • C. Johnson
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2002
This analysis shows two general features of the selectivity of Late Quaternary mammal extinctions in Australia, Eurasia, the Americas and Madagascar that are consistent with extinctions being due to interaction with human populations.
Late Holocene environments at Lake Mitsinjo, northwestern Madagascar
Two sediment cores from Lake Mitsinjo in northwestern Madagascar were analysed for evidence of past environmental changes. The unconformities in a 503 cm core from the centre of the lake and a 306 cm