August 2020 Newsletter

A Virtual Tour of Mauritius


Acanthophoenix, Black River Gorges National Park. By Vikash Tatayah, MWF

Our post-Biennial trip takes us about 150 km east of Reunion Island, along a submerged ridge known as the Seychelles-Mauritius plateau, to the island nation of Mauritius. Mauritius is a volcanic island in Indian ocean. It is about 8 million years old, making it the most ancient island in the Mascarene archipelago. Its volcanic peak, Piton de la Rivière (3069 m), is long extinct. Cyclones, heavy winds, and torrential rains have resulted in millions of years of soil erosion. Consequently, Mauritius is considerably less mountainous than Reunion, hence less microclimate variability and biodiversity. Tangentially, it is the same persistent strong winds which are implicated in the apparent lack of large winged insects seen on the island. Trade winds are south-easterly, and rainfall on the windward side of the island, up to 4000 mm per annum, is satisfactory for maintaining a moist tropical forest

In next month’s newsletter we will be complete our post biennial tour of the Mascarene archipelago with a visit to Rodrigues Island.

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