September 2020 Newsletter

A Virtual Tour of Rodrigues Island by Andy Hurwitz


Latania verschaffeltii, at Anse Quitor Nature Reserve (34 ha, established in 1996), Rodrigues Island (photos courtesy of Reshad Jhangeer-Khan, MWF). Note somewhat lax leaflets

Rodrigues Island, part of the independent republic of Mauritius, is 110 km² and characterized by a gently sloping terrain with a maximal elevation of only 390 m.

Sadly, deforestation is common throughout the archipelago. Reunion’s steep vertical challenges are clearly protective, mitigating against human encroachment. Consequently, Re-union is still covered by natural vegetation on 40% of the island. While Mauritius, older, flatter and much more densely populated has less than 5% of its original forest and, regretfully, Rodrigues retains only 1% of its native, natural vegetation. There are three protected regions on Rodrigues with surviving remnants of natural vegetation, comprising only 3.58 km². Two of these are actually small islands and one, Grande Montague Nature Reserve, is located on the main-land. Here we find the sparse native habitat restricted to hilltops and steep river canyons.

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