The Stone Forest of Madagascar

I just came across this stunning landscape in Madagascar, which is featured in a great article by National Geographic.

Not only is this landscape extraordinary in its appearance, it also holds species that cannot be found elsewhere. “On an island famous for its biodiversity (90 percent of the species here are endemic, found nowhere else on Earth), the 600-square-mile protected area is an island unto itself, a kind of biofortress, rugged, largely unexplored, and made nearly impenetrable by the massive limestone formation—the tsingy—running through it.[…] New species are frequently described from the isolated habitats within—a previously unknown coffee plant in 1996, a minuscule lemur in 2000, a bat in 2005, a frog two years later.”

The Tsingy is a very efficient natural barrier: “In the west the tsingy walls in a large portion of forest. The stone serves as a barrier to human settlement and to cattle, which threaten wildlife habitat all across Africa with their plodding hooves and insatiable appetites. The tsingy also acts as a firebreak, shielding the forest from fires—both natural and those set by humans.”

Images from the article, access the photogallery