Scientists have recently proposed that the population of golden-crowned sifakas in the Daraina region of Madagascar declined prior to the arrival of humans to the region. The team also examined 60 years of satellite images and determined that forest cover in the region has remained stable during that time period. The findings contradict the widely held belief that the decline of golden-crowned sifakas is due to recent human activities and their effects, such as deforestation and climate change.
Although there is no denying that climate change and deforestation do result in loss of biodiversity and the drastic decline (or extinction) of many species, the case of the golden-crowned sifaka may be more a case of natural decline than man-caused decline.
The research suggests that the open habitats of Madagascar's Daraina region are the consequence of climate changes that took place prior to the arrival of humans. These pre-human climate changes, which included droughts during the Holocene, reduced the golden crowned sifaka's preferred habitat.