The Natural History of Madagascar


Separated from the mainland of Africa for 160 million years, Madagascar has evolved an incredible wealth of biodiversity, with thousands of species that can be found nowhere else on earth. For instance, of its estimated 12,000 plant species, nearly 10,000 are unique to Madagascar. Malagasy animals are just as spectacular, from its almost forty currently recognized species of lemurs—a primate group found only here—to the numerous species of tiny dwarf chameleons. With astounding frequency scientists discover a ...
See more details below
$47.16 price
(Save 5%)$50.00 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (7) from $36.44   
  • New (3) from $50.97   
  • Used (4) from $36.44   
Sending request ...


Separated from the mainland of Africa for 160 million years, Madagascar has evolved an incredible wealth of biodiversity, with thousands of species that can be found nowhere else on earth. For instance, of its estimated 12,000 plant species, nearly 10,000 are unique to Madagascar. Malagasy animals are just as spectacular, from its almost forty currently recognized species of lemurs—a primate group found only here—to the numerous species of tiny dwarf chameleons. With astounding frequency scientists discover a previously unknown species in Madagascar—and at almost the same rate another natural area of habitat is degraded or destroyed, a combination that recently led conservation organizations to name Madagascar one of the most important and threatened conservation priorities on the planet.

The Natural History of Madagascar provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date synthesis available of this island nation's priceless biological treasures. Contributions by nearly three hundred world-renowned experts cover the history of scientific exploration in Madagascar, its geology and soils, climate, forest ecology, human ecology, marine and coastal ecosystems, plants, invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Detailed discussions of conservation efforts in Madagascar highlight several successful park reserve programs that could serve as models for other areas. Beautifully illustrated throughout, the book includes over one hundred color illustrations, with fifty color photos by nature photographer Harald Schütz, as well as more than three hundred black-and-white photographs and line drawings.

The Natural History of Madagascar will be the invaluable reference for anyone interested in the Malagasy environment, from biologists and conservationists to policymakers and ecotourists.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

BBC Wildlife Magazine

"The most thorough and comprehensive account of the natural history of Madagascar yet, and it will set the standard for many years to come."
New Scientist - Adrian Barnett

"Sprinkled with colour photographs, The Natural History of Madagascar is an extraordinary compendium, complete and complex. Steven Goodman and Jonathan Benstead cover geological and human histories, as well as all major groups of animals and plants. . . . The introductory chapters for each of the major taxonomic groups will help to guide the novice reader into the glories and safely past the specialist shoals. . . . This wonderful book provides a magnificent overview of one of the strangest and most glorious chunks of the planet--a place that is so much more than a load of old lemurs."
Chicago Reader - Harold Henderson

". . . spectacular images . . ."
The New York Times - Carol Kaesuk Yoon

"In The Natural History of Madagascar researchers have captured the recent explosion of scientific knowledge about the unique organisms of this rugged island. In 1,700 pages, the book moves from the broad brush strokes of the island's geological history to detailed accounts of its organisms, including its famous aye-aye lemurs, its fantastical baobab trees, and its twelve-foot-tall elephant bird."
Nature - Tim Flannery

"For those who are serious about getting to know this fascinating island, there is no better resource than The Natural History of Madagascar.  It is the closest thing to a comprehensive natural history of the region ever produced."
Quarterly Review of Biology - Summer J. Arrigo-Nelson

"Given the severe threats facing the survival of Madagascar's biodiversity, this book could not have come at a better time. . . . Its accessible language and thorough coverage of the topics, in combination with its affordable price, ensures that The Natural History of Madagascar will become an indispensable resource and educational tool for all those with an interest in Madagascar."

"A scientific milestone and by far the largest synthesis of tropical biology research ever."

"A vast and comprehensive work that will be a key reference on the country's biodiversity for years to come. It will also stand testament to the future efforts of conservationists to protect the island's unique natural heritage."
Plant Systematics and Evolution - Peter V. Bruyns

"For anyone interested in the botany of Madagascar, I would strongly recommend this book. It contains a vast amount of information on the flora of the island and is also a major source of references to literature on the Madagascan flora."
Biological Conservation - Sandra Knapp

"As a resource . . . it stands alone. . . . This is no neo-colonial view of the island, but a modern, integrated--both biologically and culturally--look at one of the most fascinating places on Earth. . . . The book is copiously illustrated with stunning colour photographs. . . . Every scientist concerned with diversity should have this book on their shelves."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226303079
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 2/15/2007
  • Pages: 1728
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 2.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven M. Goodman is a field biologist at the Field Museum of Natural History and a coordinator of the ecology training program at the WWF-Madagascar. He is coeditor of Natural Changes and Human Impact in Madagascar. Jonathan P. Benstead is a postdoctoral scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Acronyms Used in the Text
Points on Format and Presentation

1. History of Scientific Exploration
F. Andriamialisoa and O. Langrand
The History of Zoological Exploration of Madagascar

2. Geology and Soils
N. A. Wells
Some Hypotheses on the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Paleoenvironmental History of Madagascar
J. J. Flynn and A. R. Wyss
Mesozoic Terrestrial Vertebrate Faunas: The Early History of Madagascar's Vertebrate Diversity
D. W. Krause
Late Cretaceous Vertebrates of Madagascar: A Window into Gondwanan Biogeography at the End of the Age of Dinosaurs
D. A. Burney
Madagascar's Prehistoric Ecosystems
D. J. Du Puy and J. Moat
Using Geological Substrate to Identify and Map Primary Vegetation Types in Madagascar and the Implications for Planning Biodiversity Conservation

3. Climates
M. R. Jury
The Climate of Madagascar

4. Forest Ecology
J. -M. Dufils
Remaining Forest Cover
L. Cournac, M. A. Dubois, and B. Riera
Rapid Methods for Characterizing Forest Structure in Madagascar
R. C. de Gouvenain and J. A. Silander Jr.
Littoral Forest

5. Human Ecology
H. T. Wright and J. A. Rakotoarisoa
The Rise of Malagasy Societies: New Developments in the Archaeology of Madagascar
R. E. Dewar
Relationship between Human Ecological Pressure and the Vertebrate Extinctions
P. Kistler and S. Spack
Comparing Agricultural Systems in Two Areas of Madagascar
T. K. Erdmann
The Dilemma of Reducing Shifting Cultivation
K. Schoonmaker Freudenberger
The Fianarantsoa-East Coast Railroad and Its Role in Eastern Forest Conservation
J. Durbin, K. Bernard, and M. Fenn
The Role of Socioeconomic Factors in Loss of Malagasy Biodiversity
N. Rabesahala Horning
How Rules Affect Conservation Outcomes
C. A. Kull
Fire and the Management of Highland Vegetation
J. -M. Duplantier and J. -B. Duchemin
Human Diseases and Introduced Small Mammals
F. Ariey, M. Randrianarivelojosia, L. J. Sahondra Harisoa, and L. Raharimalala
D. Rousset and M. R. Andrianarivelo

6. Marine and Coastal Ecosystems
A. Cooke, J. R. E. Lutjeharms, and P. Vasseur
Marine and Coastal Ecosystems
E. Roger and M. Andrianasolo
Mangroves and Salt Marshes
R. Ratsimbazafy
Sea Turtles
H. C. Rosenbaum
Marine Mammals
H. C. Rosenbaum
Megaptera novaeangliae
Humpback Whale

7. Plants
L. Gautier and S. M. Goodman
Introduction to the Flora of Madagascar
H. L. Andrianasetra Ranarijaona
Aquatic and Semiaquatic Vascular Plants
P. Binggeli
Introduced and Invasive Plants
B. Simmen, A. Hladik, C. M. Hladik, and P. Ramasiarisoa
Occurrence of Alkaloids and Phenolics in Malagasy Forests and Responses by Primates
J. Ratsirarson and J. A. Silander Jr.
Pollination Ecology of Plant Communities in the Dry Forests of the Southwest
S. A. Spaulding and J. P. Kociolek
Bacillariophyceae, Freshwater Diatoms
F. Rakotondrainibe
Diversity, Ecology, and Distribution of the Pteridophyte Flora
F. Rakotondrainibe
Checklist to the Pteridophytes
L. B. Thien, C. R. Birkinshaw, R. Andriamparany, E. Rabakonandrianina, and G. E. Schatz
Winteraceae, Takhtajania perrieri
A. Le Thomas and G. Aymonin
H. Sauquet
A. Dalecky, C. Kerdelhué, S. Johnson, V. R. Razafindratsita, C. Grassi, A. C. Razafiarimalala, D. J. Overdorff, and J. -Y. Rasplus
Moraceae, Ficus and Associated Fauna
P. Binggeli
Cactaceae, Opuntia spp., Prickly Pear
D. A. Baum
Bombacaceae, Adansonia
L. Gautier
J. -N. Labat and J. Moat
Leguminosae (Fabaceae)
L. J. Dorr
Baudouinia rouxevillei
F. Almeda
Melastomataceae, Princess Flowers
P. Hoffmann and G. McPherson
T. Haevermans
W. S. Armbruster and B. G. Baldwin
Pollination and Evolution of Euphorb Vines in Madagascar
C. A. Kull
Uapaca Woodlands
A. Randrianasolo
M. E. Rahelivololona, E. Fischer, and S. Wohlhauser
S. Wohlhauser, P. Küpfer, and Y. -M. Yuan
P. Binggeli
Verbenaceae, Lantana camara
E. Fischer
M. Möller
M. L. Zjhra
Bignoniaceae: Phylogenetics and Evolution of Pollination Systems
A. Davis and D. Bridson
Introduction to the Rubiaceae
S. Razafimandimbison
Breonia and Related Genera (Tribe Naucleeae)
S. E. Dawson
Carphalea (Tribe Hedyotideae)
A. Davis
Coffea (Tribe Coffeeae)
P. De Block
Coptosperma and Related Genera (Tribe Pavetteae)
A. Davis and F. Rakotonasolo
Gardenia and Related Genera (Tribe Gardenieae Subtribe Gardeniinae)
P. De Block
Ixora (Tribe Ixoreae)
S. Razafimandimbison
Mussaenda and Related Genera (Tribe Mussaendeae)
P. De Block
Paederia (Tribe Paederieae)
A. Davis
Psychotria and Related Genera (Tribe Psychotrieae)
A. Davis and D. Bridson
Vangueria and Related Genera (Tribe Vanguerieae)
J. Dransfield and H. Beentje
Arecaceae, Palms
J. Ratsirarson
Dypsis decaryi, Triangle Palm
M. W. Callmander and M. O. Laivao
Pandanaceae, Pandanus
S. Dransfield
Poaceae, Bambuseae, Bamboos
P. Blanc, A. Hladik, N. Rabenandrianina, J. S. Robert, and C. M. Hladik
Strelitziaceae: The Variants of Ravenala in Natural and Anthropogenic Habitats
P. Binggeli
Pontederiaceae, Eichhornia crassipes, Water Hyacinth

8. Invertebrates
R. Paulian and P. Viette
An Introduction to Terrestrial and Freshwater Invertebrates
J. -M. Elouard and F. -M. Gibon
Ecology of Aquatic Invertebrates
R. Dolch
Insect-Plant Interactions: Their Importance for Biodiversity and Ecological Functioning
C. C. D. Tingle, A. N. McWilliam, S. Rafanomezana, M. L. Rakotondravelo, and H. Rakotondrasoa
The Fauna of Savanna Grasslands in the Locus Outbreak Area in Southwestern Madagascar
T. A. Pearce
Gastropoda, Terrestrial Snails
W. R. Lurenço
Scorpiones, Scorpions
C. E. Griswold
Araneae, Spiders
H. Klompen
Ixodida, Ticks
B. M. OConnor
Acariformes: Parasitic and Commensal Mites of Vertebrates
J. W. Short and E. Doumenq
Atyidae and Palaemonidae, Freshwater Shrimps
K. A. Crandall
Parastacidae, Astacoides, Freshwater Crayfishes
N. Cumberlidge and R. v. Sternberg
Potamonautidae, Freshwater Crabs
H. Enghoff
Diplopoda, Millipedes
J. -M. Betsch
Collembola, Springtails
J. -M. Elouard, J. -L. Gattolliat, and M. Sartori
Ephemeroptera, Mayflies
T. W. Donnelly and M. J. Parr
Odonata, Dragonflies and Damselflies
P. Eggleton and R. Davies
Isoptera, Termites
J. -M. Elouard
Plecoptera, Stoneflies
N. D. Penny
Megaloptera, Fishflies and Alderflies
N. D. Penny
Neuroptera, Lacewings
F. Cassola
Coleoptera: Cicindelidae, Tiger Beetles (Studies of Tiger Beetles CXI)
L. Andriamampianina
Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae: Tribe Enariini, Scarab Beetles
J. -B. Duchemin, J. Ratovonjato, and J. -M. Duplantier
Siphonaptera, Fleas
M. E. Irwin, E. I. Schlinger, and F. C. Thompson
Diptera, True Flies
G. W. Courtney

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)