The dry forests in Madagascar represent a remarkable tropical forest ecosystem, occupying almost the entire west slope of the island up to the very northern tip, especially on substrates associated with sedimentary formations. These forests span several woody vegetation types of the island, including (i) the southwestern coastal bushland, (ii) the southwestern dry spiny forest-thicket, and (iii) the western dry forest. These landscapes show a high degree of biodiversity with several centers of endemism hosting a globally unique fauna, with disparities in richness and diversity according to the groups, probably related to paleo-refugia. These landscapes also provide important ecosystem services for various ethnic groups residing along the coast, also hosting the only autochthonous group in Madagascar, the Mikea forest people. In this paper we review the scientific literature to highlight the importance of dry forests socio-ecological landscapes in order to identify knowledge gaps where future research is required to better inform management and policy to better balance conservation and development interests. For this, we recommend the adoption of transdisciplinary approaches that engage with a broad number of stakeholders in order to allow policy adaptations to better cope with current and future changes (e.g., agriculture, energy demands and needs).
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Vol. 17 • No. S2