Restoration of highly threatened forest ecosystems in Mauritius

Restoration of highly threatened forest ecosystems in Mauritius

Mitigating the major threats to threatened endemic tree species by restoration of highly threatened forest ecosystems in Mauritius

Partner: Ecosystem Restoration Alliance Indian Ocean (ERA)
Years: 2020-2023

Restoration of Mauritius endemic forest ecosystems by the removal of invasive plant species and the replanting and propagation of threatened endemic tree species.

Invasive Hipitage benghalensis strangling a tree

Mauritius retained less than 2% of quality forest out of around 18% of its total forest cover. The primary forest is lost while the remnant forest patches undergo rapid degradation due to many invasive plants as well as animal species.

This project focuses on Long Mountain area (Les Mariannes mountain chain) which is described as priority area due to many threatened species found in the forest patches. Indeed, ERA’s survey has identified at least 22 Vulnerable species (VU), 10 Endangered (EN), 1 Critically Endangered (CR) and at least one presumably extinct tree species on just over 120ha of forest – and the list is still growing.

To protect these trees and prevent their global extinction it is urgent to eradicate invasive plant species and replace them with native and endemic tree species to enrich the forest, allow enhanced natural regeneration and ensure that the many threatened species are able to continue growing in the area. If no action is taken, the forest will keep degrading while the native and endemic trees will face extinction in the near future.