More than 200 species of trees and shrubs constitute the dry deciduous Kirindy Forest. The forest has a relatively low canopy and is visually dominated by baobab trees (Adansonia spp.).
The climate in western Madagascar is characterized by strong seasonality with a dry season from April to October and a rainy season between November and March.
Kirindy Forest harbors some 23 mammalian species other than lemurs: 5 rodents, 3 carnivors, 7 tenrecs, 1 artiodactyl and about 8 bats. Characteristic species are the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), the largest carnivore of Madagascar, the Bokiboky (Mungotictis decemlineata), another mongoose, and the island's largest rodent, the giant jumping rat (Hypogeomys antimena). Several of these three species are endangered and occur only in the mid-west of Madagascar like the giant jumping rat and the Bokiboky.
About 70 bird species can be found in Kirindy. Many of them are endemic to the region and many are endagered like the Madagascar ibis (Aviceda madagascariensis). Common colorful birds include the blue vanga (Cyanolanius madagascariensis) and the Madagascar kingfisher (Alcedo vintsioides).
Kirindy Forest has a manifold fauna of reptiles and amphibs with some 50 species of chameleons, leguans, gekkos, skinks, snakes and turtles, and 4 amphibian families with 15 species, 6 of which endemic to the region. Kirindy highlights are Labord's chameleon (Furcifer labordi), the leaf-tailed gekko (Uroplatus guentheri), the Madagascar long-nosed snake (Langaha madagascariensis), and the endemic turtle Pyxis planicauda.
Madagascar’s unique ecosystems have been under considerable pressure for many years, principally from habitat destruction caused by human activities. The main threats are slash-and-burn agriculture and logging (for charcoal or construction wood). The practice of cutting forest to clear for either grazing or cultivation increased dramatically in the 1980’s, particularly during times of political instability. Conservation International identified this region as one of the two areas of highest conservation priority in Madagascar. Research by the DPZ revealed that the destruction of intact forest structure is causing a considerable loss of biodiversity and habitat at annual rates of about 4.4%. Habitat loss is predominately caused by slash-and-burn agriculture (tavy), legal and illegal logging and animal hunting for subsistence. At this rate, intact forest would be destroyed within the next 20 years.