Restoration and reforestation in Rodrigues
Restoration and reforestation of the Grande Montagne Nature Reserve, Rodrigues
Today, only a few relics of forest remain on Rodrigues and, with its high levels of species endemism and many threatened plants species, the island is a conservation priority. In some cases, surviving plants have been reduced to a single individual or a small isolated population. This has also had a considerable impact on the island’s native fauna, with just three endemic vertebrate species surviving today.
The Grande Montagne Nature Reserve is one of only two protected areas on Rodrigues, however it suffers from wide spread degradation. Consequently, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) promoted its designation as a Conservation Management Area with the aim of restoring regions of native forest on Rodrigues and creating a viable habitat for its unique flora and fauna.
The project is currently implementing a ten year restoration plan with the objectives of:
- Restoring the full 25.5ha area of the Grande Montagne Nature Reserve.
- Supplementing the current population of threatened Rodriguan plant species through propagation and reintroduction.
- Enhancing community involvement by recruiting from the local workforce and promoting environmental awareness.
Following the project’s inception 74% of the reserve has been restored. Since 2008, Chester Zoo has facilitated the propagation of over 40,000 endemic plants through the provision of financial and technical support; enabling the restoration of 9ha of the reserve and significantly increasing the global population of 29 endemic Rodriguan plants.
Restoration activities continue with the aim of creating sustainable propagation techniques, furthering community involvement and enhancing ecotourism opportunities on Rodrigues.
COMMENDATION received in BIAZA Awards 2011 for Best Field Conservation Project