A rhythmic tapping can be heard emerging from the hills of Ebony Forest, located near the village of Chamarel. It is the team of local men and women using machetes to remove exotic vegetation, such as guava and tecoma trees, which have invaded the remnant native forest. With less than 2% of native forest remaining in Mauritius, Ebony Forest Ltd aim to restore and recreate 50 hectares of native ebony forest and protect the endemic fauna. Tackling invasive plants is a long-term commitment as intensive management is needed to allow the native vegetation to recover. Thanks to CEPF funding, Ebony Forest Ltd have expanded the team and have been busy controlling the fast-growing vegetation, collecting seeds for propagation in the nursery and planting native species.
Work is also currently under way to create a museum about the history of Mauritius’ ebony forests and the employment of an education officer has seen the development of signs and the education programme, which will be implemented when the visitor centre opens later in the year. While invasive species directly threaten the island’s endemic flora and fauna, the lack of awareness about the environment is perhaps the greatest threat. Ebony Forest has welcomed the first volunteers to assist in the conservation and education work.
Christine Griffiths, Conservation Manager
Ebony Forest Ltd