Heritage Resorts - Stories 2018 - Issue 2 - Page 62



|NATURE
EBONY FOREST RESERVE
AN INDIGENOUS
TREASURE
THE ISOLATED INDIAN OCEAN OUTPOST OF MAURITIUS, UNDISTURBED FOR
MILLENNIA, IS ONE OF THE MOST BIODIVERSE ISLANDS ON EARTH. ONCE COVERED
IN DENSE NATIVE FOREST, SHELTERING ITS UNIQUE WILDLIFE AND TROPICAL AND
RARE PLANTS, AFTER FOUR CENTURIES OF CLEARANCE, ONLY 2% OF NATIVE FOREST
REMAINS. MAURITIUS RICH AND DIVERSE FLORA, IS THE THIRD MOST THREATENED
WORLDWIDE (AFTER HAWAII AND THE CANARY ISLANDS) ACCORDING TO THE
INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE (IUCN). AROUND 200 OF ITS
315 REMAINING ENDEMIC PLANT SPECIES ARE ENDANGERED – 50 SPECIES HAVE LESS
THAN 10 INDIVIDUALS IN THE WILD.
The recently-opened Ebony Forest Reserve, a small patch of native forest on a mountainside in
Chamarel, is helping to protect this national heritage. A decade in the making, so far around 140,000
endemic species has been replanted here, with an aim to restore 50 hectares, and you may find
yourself eye to eye with a rare Mauritian Bulbul, an endemic songbird of Mauritius. The following
endemic plants are among those spotted on guided tours there.
by Nicki Grihault
Illustrations by Avinash Veerapen
60
| HERITAGE RESORTS STORIES

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