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Commonwealth partnership protects Mauritius mangroves

13 March 2018

Hundreds of mangroves were planted in Mauritius last week as part of a Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub and Air Mauritius partnership aimed at expanding the Pointe d’Esny wetland site of mangroves.

The rare wetland is one of the largest in Mauritius and situated in the South Eastern village of Mahebourg. It is designated as the Third Ramsar Site of International Heritage Importance.

The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access team along with Ministry of Environment, local NGOs, school children, local communities and representatives of Air Mauritius, took part in the tree plantation campaign. Some 500 mangrove propagules have been collected and planted.

Wetlands and mangrove forests are a natural defense to coastal erosion, and contribute in maintaining water quality, fish and birds’ habitat, and provide essential livelihoods to local communities.

For a small island nation like Mauritius, mangrove forests are proven an effective climate protection measure with a potential to contribute towards its sustainable development goals. Mauritius is a member of the International Ramsar Convention since September 2001 and has been taking measures towards the wise use of all wetlands through national land-use planning, appropriate policies and legislation, management actions, and public education.

The Pointe d’Esny is a natural coastal wetland supporting a rich mangrove forests (Rhizophora mucronata and Bruguiera gymnorhiza mangrove species), the critically endangered Zornia vaughaniana plant, coastal fishes, crustacean, migratory and shore birds and provides local flood abatement functions. In addition, the site offers sustainable ecotourism and recreational services to local people and tourists.

National airline Air Mauritius is committed to the protection, promotion and growth of the Pointe d’Esny wetland.

Commonwealth Climate Finance Access national adviser in Mauritius Patrick Karani is facilitating international cooperation and assistance for the site effective and efficient sustainable management and enhanced climate resilience through development of partnership and networking with Wetlands International.

A survey is also being coordinated with site visit and observations with the aim to further expand and develop the site and initiate protection, conservation and climate resilience enhancement measures.