Included here is the Island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

Madagascan Moist Montane Forest

These forests are scattered in several areas of the central highlands chiefly between altitudes of 800-1300 m. They tend to be lower in statue than the lowland forests and the trees usually have an uneven, knarled appearance. They also support more epiphytes, especially mosses. Some of the largest remaining stands are on Amber Mountain (Montagne d’ Ambre). The canopy is usually characterized by members of the endemic genera Cuphocarpus (Araliaceae), Dilobeia (Proteaceae), Tambourissa (Monimiaceae), or mainly endemic species of Brachylaena (Asteraceae), Canarium (Burseraceae), Dalbergia (Fabaceae), Diospyros (Ebenaceae), Dombeya (Malvaceae), Eugenia (Myrtaceae), Grewia (Malvaceae), Protorhus (Anacardiaceae), Schefflera (Araliaceae), Symphonia (Clusiaceae), Vernonia (Asteraceae) and Weinmannia (Cunoniaceae). Although not confined to these formations, the endemic Podocarpus madagascariensis (Podocarpaceae) also occurs, while the two endemic genera (Ephippiandra and Hedycaryopsis) of the Monimiaceae are confined to these montane forests. Among the shrub layer are many endemic members of the Asteraceae, Myrsinaceae and Rubiaceae, while the herb layer is remarkable for the occurrence of species belonging to several temperate genera including Ajuga, Alchemilla, Cardamine, Cerastium, Hydrocotyle, Plantago, Ranunculus, Sanicula, Vaccinium and Viola.

Madagascan Sclerophyllous Montane Forest

Usually at higher altitudes than the moist montane forests, mostly between 1300-2300m, these forests are exposed to lower temperatures with greater daily and seasonal variation, and stronger winds. Consequently the canopy tends to be lower (10-12m) and less well differentiated from the lower tiers. In fact, their structure is intermediate between forest and thicket. The trees are richly branched and typically have leaves that are small and zeromorphic in structure. Characteristic canopy species include various endemic members of the Asteraceae (such as Psiadia, Senecio, Vernonia and the endemic genera Apodocephala and Centauropsis), Ericaceae (Agauria), Lauraceae (Ocotea), and Rubiaceae (Clerodendrum). Epiphytic bryophytes and lichens are also well represented with many of the trees festooned with Usnea, while the ground layer is often composed of a dense carpet of mosses including mounds of Sphagnum. Other characteristic components include various members of the endemic genera Dicoryphe (Dicoryphe viticoides), Ocostemum, Tina (Tina isoneura), and Ascarinopsis (Ascarinopsis coursii) the only member of the Chloranthaceae found on Madagascar, and the endemic palm genera Chrysalidocarpus and Neodypsis.           

Madagascan ‘Tapia’ Montane Forest

On the western slopes of the central massif between about 800-1600 m the forests are dominated by Uapaca bojeri. These gnarled fire resistant trees, known locally as tapia, have evergreen coriaceous leaves and look similar in appearance to cork oak. The most frequent associates include Leptolaena bojereran, L. pauciflora, Sarcolaena oblongata (of the endemic family Sarcolaenaceae), while less frequent endemics include Asteropeia densiflora (Asteropeiaceae), Brachylaena microphylla (Asteraceae), Dicoma incana (Asteraceae) and Dodonaea madagascariensis (Sapindaceae). The shrub layer is mainly composed of Philippa species of the Ericaceae, together with various endemic Asteraceae (Conyza, Helichrysum, Psiada, Senecio, Vernonia), Fabaceae and Rubiaceae. Tree ferns, however, are lacking and the only palm present is the endemic Chrysalidocarpus decipiens (Arecaceae). Epiphytes are also rare, being composed of a few small ferns, various orchids of the genus Bulbophyllum and lichens. Ground layer species are also sparse and usually devoid of bryophytes.  


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