Belo-sur-Mer - Kirindy-Mite

©UNESCO/Guy Suzon Ramangason
Belo-sur-Mer Biosphere Reserve

Situated on the western coast of Madagascar, the Belo-sur-Mer – Kirindy-Mite Biosphere Reserve comprises a watershed and a mosaic of rich but fragile ecosystems, such as dry forests, thickets, thorn forests, savannahs, salty swampy depressions known as ‘tannes’, mangroves and coral reefs. The reef is also a feeding area for spectacular marine megafauna including whales (humpback), dolphins, dugongs and marine turtles. People in the area rely on these natural resources for their livelihood and income.

The site’s marine biodiversity, islands and two sacred salted lakes, which are home to the Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor), are valuable assets for tourism. Aquaculture, pelagic fishing and salt production are also key areas of development.

Designation date: 2016
Administrative authorities: Etat Malgache; Région du Menabe; District de Morondava, Manja; Commune de Befasy, Belo-sur-Mer, Soaserana, Andranopasy
Surface area (terrestrial and marine): 625,050 ha
Core area(s): 156,350 ha (terrestrial: 128,440 ha; marine: 27,910 ha)
Buffer zone(s): 81,700 ha (terrestrial: 49,500 ha; marine: 32,200 ha)
Transition area(s): 387,000 ha (terrestrial: 209,300 ha; marine: 177,700 ha)

Location
Latitude:
20°20’24”S – 21°19’48”S
Longitude: 43°37’19”E – 44°24’4”E
Midpoint: 20°50’27”S – 44°01’45”E

Ecological Characteristics

©Wikimedia Commons/Ron Knight
Verreaux's Sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi)

The area centres around the convergence of the western and southern Malagasy phytogeographical zones, which results in a high biodiversity of species. The site includes a watershed upstream and marine and coastal ecosystems downstream. This terrestrial and marine landscape provides an impressive mosaic of rich but fragile and diverse ecosystems, such as dry forests, thickets, thorn forests, savannahs, salty swampy depressions (tannes), mangroves and coral reefs.

Kirindy-Mite National Park is situated within the core area and has the largest population of Adansonia grandidieri (500,000 trees), one of the seven species of Malagasy Baobabs. Other common floral species include the Madagascar rosewood (Dalbergia baronii), tamarind (Tamarindus indica) and Commiphora grandifolia.

The reef is a feeding area of spectacular marine megafauna including species such as the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), dugong (Dugong dugon) and lesser flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor). The biosphere reserve also hosts several species endemic to Madagascar including the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) and narrow-striped mongoose (Mungotictis decemlineata), as well as endangered endemic species such as the Malagasy giant rat (Hypogeomys antimena), Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae) and Verreaux’s sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi).

The biosphere reserve also encompasses the ‘Lacs arrière dunaires’, which have been designated a Ramsar site.

Socio-Economic Characteristics

©Wikimedia Commons/Guy Suzon Ramangason

Approximately 63,000 inhabitants live in the area. The main tribe, the Sakalava, consists of two groups: the Sakalava Vezo, a fishing community, and the Sakalava Masikoro, whose main economic activity is agriculture. The population relies on the natural resources of the biosphere reserve for its livelihood and income. The site’s marine biodiversity, islands and two sacred salted lakes are valuable assets for tourism and ecotourism. Aquaculture, pelagic fishing and salt production are also key areas of development.


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Last updated in June 2016

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