Known for its diversity and high endemicity, half of Madagascar's floral richness is sheltered in the Island's eastern evergreen dense rainforest; including key, threatened and socio-economically valuable species. The vulnerability of such habitat, combined with overexploitation of timber, threatens the livelihoods of forest communities and conservation of biological diversity. Up till date, the main actions regarding Madagascar’s biodiversity are leading at the ecosystem level through protected area systems, without necessarily ensuring real conservation of all key species. These are rarely considered as a criterion for effective protected area management. Although decisions on long-term conservation and genetic improvement require detailed scientific and economic knowledge of species, very limited data are available. This research study sets out to promote the development of scientific knowledge of six key endemic species belonging to lowland rainforest ecosystems, to propose a variant of models for the conservation and sustainable use of their genetic resources. The research was conducted using several methods including ecological studies of the habitats of these key species, demographic analysis, and monitoring of their biological and phenological behaviors. The results obtained made it possible to identify three priority groups of key species for which specific conservation and sustainable use measures are proposed.
Key words: key species ecology, biology and physiology, conservation and sustainable use, evergreen dense rainforest.
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