The main feature of the Spiny Forests of this incredibly unique area of southern Madagascar is that while numerous species of bush and tree resemble cacti – small leaves and spines and thorns – they are woody rather than succulent. Nowhere else in the world is this the case. The area stretches to more than 15,000 sq. miles and has the most endemic character of all Madagascar’s unusually unique ecosystems. The forest adaptations are definitely a protection against low rainfall as this is an area so different from most of the rest of the country, unusually dry and often experiencing drought. At the same time there are a half dozen of the country’s signature animals found here, including the spectacular ring-tailed lemur.