Madagascar’s imperilled biota are now experiencing the effects of a new threat—climate change. With more than 90% endemism among plants, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, the stakes are high. The pristine landscapes that allowed this exceptional biodiversity to survive past climate changes are largely gone. Deforestation has claimed approximately 90% of the island’s natural forest and what remains is highly fragmented, providing a poor template for large-scale species range shifts. The impacts of current and future climate change may therefore be much different than past impacts, with profound implications for biodiversity.
The article reviews evidence of past response to climate change, models of future change and projected biological response, developing insights to formulate adaptation actions for reducing extinction in Madagascar’s biota. Then it explores the cost of implementing actions and examine new income opportunities developing through efforts to mitigate climate change.