A three-sheet map of one of Earth’s biodiversity ‘hot spots.’

[3-Sheet Biodiversity Map of Madagascar] Carte Internationale du Tapis Végétal et des Conditions Écologiques.


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Date: 1965
Place: Madras
Dimensions: Top sheet: 102 x 62.5 cm (40 x 24.5 in), Middle sheet: 96 x 74.5 cm (38 x 29 in), Bottom sheet: 102 x 73 cm (40 x 28.5 in)
Condition Rating: VG+


A stunning 1965 three-sheet botanical and ecological map of Madagascar, produced by a team led by two of the top experts on the island’s forests and flora, Jean-Henri Humbert and Gilbert Cours Darne.

The maps roughly divide the island into thirds and use color shading to indicate different types of vegetation, which are themselves divided according to climate zone, as noted in the margins. Further into the margins are inset maps of the same region displaying administrative divisions, geology, soil, ‘bioclimate,’ vegetation (more generally than the main map), and agriculture. Each map also includes an extensive legend explaining the notation used throughout. Madagascar is known internationally for its remarkable biodiversity, much of which is unique to the island, and is among 17 countries that are deemed ‘megadiverse.’

These maps were produced in 1965 by a team, led by Jean-Henri Humbert and Gilbert Cours Darne, that drew widely on published research as well as the resources of the French government and the recently independent Republic of Madagascar. The Institut français de Pondichéry and the Institut de la carte internationale du tapis végétal were especially instrumental in the production of the maps, with the latter overseeing a project to produce similar maps of other regions of the world. Humbert and Cours Darne were leading experts on Madagascar’s climate and botany, especially its forests. The same year this map was published, they also jointly produced a “Carte de la végétation de Madagascar.”

The present work appears in a handful of institutional collections, mostly in Europe, but has no known history on the market.


Henri Humbert

Jean-Henri Humbert (January 24, 1887 – October 20, 1967) was a prominent French botanist. He spent much of his early career in Africa, in Madagascar and Algeria. In 1931, he became the chair of botany at the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle in Paris. Later in his career, Humbert received a series of academic honors, including being admitted to the Institut de France and the Académie des Sciences.

Prasad Process Private Ltd.

Prasad Process Private Ltd. was a lithographic printer based in Madras that produced books, maps, and posters, including for Air India and Bollywood studios. The company was incorporated in 1955 and appears to still be in operation, though it has relocated to Chennai.

Condition Description

Folding map with some splitting at the folds. Else excellent. 3 separate sheets, as issued.