Located adjacent to Andasibe National Park, Analamazaotra Forest Station is composed of a little over 700 ha of rainforest and abandoned timber plantation we are currently restoring to native forest. Known primarily as the best place in Madagascar to view the Indri, it is home to at least 12 other species of lemur and is also popular for bird watching and for its diverse reptiles and amphibians.
The Analamazaotra forest of Andasibe, including both today’s Forest Station managed by Mitsinjo and the National Park across the road, was a source of timber under royal Merina and colonial French rule. As the exploitation of its timber weighed heavy on the forest, the French decided to establish an experimental forest station that should focus on ways to more sustainably use it. In 1909 Analamazaotra Forest Station became the first of its kind in Madagascar.
The French experimented with a number of fast-growing exotic trees. The introduction of both pine and eucalyptus dates back to the 1910s and in some areas of Analamazaotra these trees are still apparent today.
Colonial forestry also contributed to an enormous increase in the knowledge of the endemic plants of the region. Botanists like Modeste Louvel, Henri Jumelle, Henri Perrier de la Bathie and René Capuron all worked in Analamazaotra for the Service Forestier. Many trees and other plants of the area were named after them. After independence, collection of botanical specimens was continued by FOFIFA, who were also in charge of the nearby Andobofito fish breeding station.
Known as the “station forestière et piscicole”, Analamazaotra was then managed by the Service des Eaux et Forets. In 1970, the eastern part of Analamazaotra was set aside as a Special Reserve to protect the indri. This later came under management of the new Association Nationale de la Gestion des Aires Protégées (ANGAP), today known as Madagascar National Parks (MNP). The western part stayed under administration of the Ministère des Eaux et Forets until 2003, when Association Mitsinjo signed a contract with the Ministry and took over its management.
The forest managed by Mitsinjo now covers a considerable area of original rainforest and vegetation currently being restored to it. Situated in one of the biodiversity hotspots of Madagascar, Analamazaotra Forest Station is exceptionally rich in biodiversity, from plants to insects to frogs to birds to lemurs. Our forest is home to up to nine groups of Indri, two of which have been habituated thanks to the splendid efforts of Mitsinjo’s monitoring agents.
Entering this lush rainforest from the Mitsinjo office, you can explore its unique array of flora and fauna. Pass by one of our tree nurseries, climb the upper reaches of Analamazaotra via the Cardiff stairs, descend to the placid Orchid Park and come back again crossing calm creeks flowing through a serene scenery only interrupted by birdsong and the buzz of cicadas.