Grande Montagne Nature Reserve
Since 1996, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation has been active in the restoration of Grande Montagne Nature Reserve (GMNR) with endemic seedlings produced in its nursery (located at Solitude).
BIAZA Annual Awards 2011
Best field conservation project
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 handful of individuals, when not a single individual, or small isolated population(s). This has also had a considerable impact on the island’s native fauna, with just three endemic vertebrate species surviving today, and these are all red-listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Grande Montagne Nature Reserve of 25.5ha is one of only two protected areas on mainland Rodrigues, however it suffers from widespread degradation. Consequently, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) promoted its designation as a Nature Reserve 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 all or most 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.
Since 1994, around 170,000 seedlings have been planted by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and the Rodrigues Forestry Service, 100,000 of those being planted by MWF since 2008 in 14.5h. 43 species have been planted since 1994 in the reserve with MWF planting 38 species since 2008.
Restoration activities continue with the aim of creating sustainable propagation techniques, furthering community involvement and enhancing ecotourism opportunities on Rodrigues.
Chester Zoo (North of England Zoological Society) who provide financial and technical support to this project was awarded this commendation by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA), which strives to set high standards of management and ethics for all registered institutions and their programmes whether they are in-country or international.