Lake Ihotry and Mangoky River Delta, Madagascar21.9S 43.6E
Visible near the western shores of Madagascar is the green Lake Ihotry, a closed saline lake in semi-arid southwestern part of Madagascar. Its area varies seasonally, from 96 km² to 112 km², as does its salinity. Between the lake and the coast is a rather large, whitish area of sand interspersed with silt-laden ponds.
Visible north of the lake is the mouth of the Mangoky River, through which sediments can be seen pouring into the Mozambique Channel. The river is 564 kilometers (350 mi) long, rising in the Central Highlands and flowing generally in a westerly direction out of them, crossing the southern extension of the Bemaraha Plateau, until it reaches the coastal plain and its delta.
Most of Madagascar has undergone serious deforestation during the last 40 years, chiefly from slash-and-burn practises by indigenous peoples. This loss of forest has led to extreme soil erosion in the Mangoky River basin, as evidenced by the many sandbars located within the river channel.
The southern portion of the Ihotry delta is dominated by successive barrier island and spit formation. In contrast, the northern, protected portion of the delta is dominated by tidal passes and mangrove swamps.