Two conservationists, Louse Jasper and Charlie Gardner, in collaboration with WWF, recently published the book Life amongst the Thorns (http://www.amazon.com/Life-Amongst-The-Thorns-Biodiversity/dp/1909612677). The book is devoted to one of the beautiful places in the world – Madagascar Spiny Thickets, also known as “spiny desert”.
As noted by WWF (http://www.worldwildlife.org/ecoregions/at1311), while Madagascar itself is very famous for its unique animals and plants, the spiny thicket ecoregion is quite special. Located in the southern and southern-western part of the island, the spiny forest contains 95% of the plant species that are endemic for this driest ecoregion with the annual rainfall less than 350 mm per year.
Thus, the feature of the Spiny Thickets is its unique vegetation, thanks to which you have a feeling of being on other Planet. “Many of the spiny bush plants possess extreme adaptations to the aridity of the ecoregion, such as extended root systems with massive tubers, enlarged, succulent trunks and branches, succulent and reduced leaves, thorns, and waxy and hairy coatings. The spiny thicket, or spiny forest, is usually 3 to 6 m in height, but sometimes includes emerging trees of the Didiereaceae family, which reach more than 10 m in height” (WWF). In the relation to the animals, the spiny forests is a home for endemic type of lemurs, mongooses and tortoises.
The book informs its readers about Madagascar’s rarest flora and fauna, the threats they face: drought, poaching and imposing farming techniques; about the conservation work made by the authors and their team to save such animal species as the radiated spider tortoise, electric blue reptiles, dwarf lemurs and others (http://www.ozy.com/good-sht/a-look-into-madagascars-mysterious-wildlands/66482).