Lake Alaotra

Lake Alaotra

Lake Less

Lake Alaotra

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Lake Alaotra () is the largest lake in Madagascar, located in Toamasina Province, in the northern central plateau. Its basin is composed of shallow freshwater lakes and marshes surrounded by areas of dense vegetation. It forms the center of the island's most important rice-growing region. It is a rich habitat for wildlife, including some rare and endangered species, as well as an important fishing ground. Lake Alaotra and its surrounding wetlands cover , and include a range of habitats, including open water, reedbeds, marshes, and rice paddies. The lake itself covers . Lake Alaotra was declared a wetland of international importance under the international Ramsar Convention on February 2, 2003.

The fertile plain surrounding lake Lake Alaotra is Madagascar's most important rice-producing region. The hills surrounding the lake were formerly forested, but have mostly been cleared for farmland in past decades. Severe erosion on these vulnerable hill slopes has caused considerable sedimentation of the lake, which is fast disappearing; the lake is now only deep during the dry season. Pressure to create more rice fields has also led locals to burn the reedbeds surrounding the lake. These reedbeds provide the sole habitat of the endemic Alaotra Gentle Lemur (Hapalemur griseus alaotrensis). The Alaotra Gentle Lemur is now limited to only of remaining reedbeds, and in recent years the lemur population rapidly declined by 60%, from approximately 7,500...
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