Mauritius Plants Project
Mauritius is globally recognised for its important endemic flora. Impacted hugely by the spread of invasive plants it is thought that around 70 species of endemic Mauritian plants have already gone extinct.
Of the remaining flora a significant percentage is endemic and the majority of these are threatened with extinction. In response two plant nurseries have been established on Mauritius, one at Pigeon Wood in Black River Gorges National Park and one on the off-shore island of Ile aux Aigrettes. These nurseries focus on the propagation of critically endangered upland plants and critically endangered lowland and coastal plants respectively.
Field gene banks for 60 species have been established and as part of this process there has been extensive surveys and mapping of the distribution of these plants in the wild - data which informed the IUCN Red Listing exercise for Mauritius plants in 2007. Propagation at these nurseries also provides plants for restoration projects in a number of sites that complements the other species recovery work of MWF.
A plant nursery has also been established on the neighbouring island of Rodrigues, supporting the restoration of the Grand Montagne Nature Reserve. This important site is one of the remaining relic forests on the island and this on-going project has so far seen 20 of the 25.5 hectare site restored. The intensive weeding and management required for this restoration provides significant regional employment and has also enabled ecotourism and educational tours to be implemented. Grande Montagne Nature Reserve has now become a critical site for threatened species such as the Rodrigues warbler, Rodrigues fody and Rodrigues fruit bat.
Our support for Rodrigues fruit bats also extends to the support of the annual censuses for this species on Rodrigues, as well as management of the international studbook for the global zoo population.