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The Significance of Human Induced and Natural Erosion Features (Lavakas) on the Central Highlands of Madagascar

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Zavada, Michael S.; Wang, Yeqiao; Rambolamanana, Gérard; Raveloson, Andriamiranto; Razanatsoa, Hélène
Journal: Madagascar Conservation and Development
Volume: 4
Page(s): 120-127
Date: 2009
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/6626
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: Africa
Subject(s): groundwater
landscape change
Abstract: "Massive hill slope erosion in Madagascar is represented by the widespread gullies called ‘lavaka’. Lavakas may be result of natural processes that involves a combination of continuous tectonic uplift that maintains a high angle of repose, ground water sapping at the soil - saprolite interface, and subsequent collapse of the soil surface due to low grade seismic activity in the central highlands. Forest cover ranges between 25-45% in the study area and is primarily restricted to riparian and lavaka habitats. Development of forest cover associated with riparian and lavaka habitats may be due to increased soil moisture, exposure of a less nutrient poor saprolite and/or soil compaction. In addition, riparian and lavaka habitats harbor a significantly higher diversity of plant species than the surrounding grasslands. Lavakas may be a result of natural processes and may play a role in the development of Madagascar’s landscape evolution."

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