In 1995, the Mauritius Ministry of Fisheries started a Mangrove Propagation Programme with the aim of protecting and reforesting denuded areas, and also educating the public about the importance of this ecosystem. The programme consisted of several distinct planting phases, some of which utilized nursery-reared seedlings, while others involved the direct planting of propagules. A project of considerable duration, the planting effort ultimately resulted in 13 hectares of restored mangroves (a significant percentage of Mauritius’s total mangrove area), and survival rates have been favorable to date.
Mauritius, -20.348404, 57.55215199999998
Country or Territory:
Estuaries, Marshes & Mangroves
Area being restored:
Mauritius Ministry of Fisheries
Primary Causes of DegradationUrbanization, Transportation & Industry
With agriculture, industry, and tourism (mainly marine-based) as its principal economic bases, Mauritius has enjoyed two decades of rapid development. However, the natural resource base of the coastal zone has been increasingly degraded by terrestrial inputs (dyestuff, heavy metals and complex chemical compounds, sewage) from intensified urbanization. Moreover, some of the mangrove areas have been privately utilized for farming mullet, crab, shrimp, and seacarp, while others have been degraded as a result of tourist infrastructure, ports and public beaches. Cyclones have also caused extensive damage to fragile coastal ecosystems in Mauritius.
Reference Ecosystem Description
The mangroves of Mauritius are mainly restricted to the northeast and east coasts and are comprised of two species: Rhizophora mucronata and Bruguiera gymnorrhiza. R. mucronata is the more common species, however, representing almost 100% of the mangrove area. Mangrove belts often occur along lagoons and are part of complex systems encompassing a variety of habitats: beaches, sand or mud swamps, mangrove belts, lagoon channels, coral colonies, sand cays, a reef zone, and seagrass beds (including patches of Halophila ovata, Halodule uninervis, and Syrinqodium isoetifolium).
The main objectives of the Mangrove Propagation Programme were to restore denuded areas with mangroves and to propagate them at places where natural regeneration was slow.
The project does not have a monitoring plan.
Description of Project Activities:
This project employed both indirect and direct methodology. For the indirect planting phases, a mangrove nursery was established at Mahebourg Fish Farm. Mangrove propagules were collected, placed in small plastic bags with mud and kept in the nursery until they reached the four-leaf stage (2-3 months). The nursery-reared seedlings were then planted at selected sites around the island. The project also incorporated a direct planting phase, wherein mature propagules where collected from parent trees and then directly planted in the mud at the selected site.
Ecological Outcomes Achieved
Eliminate existing threats to the ecosystem:
During the first phase (June 1995 - 1996), 12,400 seedlings were planted at nine sites around the island covering a total lagoonal area of 22,750m2, much of this in and adjacent to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), including Black River, Poudre d'Or and Grand Port Fishing Reserves. An average survival rate of 65% was noted. The second phase (June 1997 - December 1998), involved four sites along the west coast, covering an area of 23,750 m2 where 47,500 seedlings were planted. During the third phase (February 2000 - 2001), five sites along the north shore were selected and 40,000 seedlings were planted covering 20,000 m2. For the fourth phase, three sites in the east with an area of 29,000 m2 were planted with 58,000 seedlings. The fifth phase, involved a mud flat of 25,000 m2 on the western part of the island. No seedlings were planted at this site, but 42,000 propagules were collected from mother trees and directly inserted in the mud to about one-third their length, without prior development in the nursery. A year later, over 95% of the propagules had developed into healthy plants reaching four to six leaf stages, confirming the success of directly planting propagules. Planting efforts continued from April to May 2004, with 14,000 seedlings planted over 7,000 m2 with a 70% survival rate. Finally, 900 seedlings were planted over 1,000 m2 in 2005. Since 1995, a total of 214,800 mangrove seedlings / propagules have been planted over an area of 129,500 m2, or approximately 13 hectares, with an estimated overall survival rate of 78%. With the 9.4 hectares of existent mangrove swamps, the 13 hectares of restored mangroves increase the total mangrove area in Mauritius to approximately 23 hectares.
Factors limiting recovery of the ecosystem:
It was noted that around 7,000 plants were destroyed in October 2004. After investigating the loss, it was found that they had been destroyed for access of boats to the shore.
Socio-Economic & Community Outcomes Achieved
Economic vitality and local livelihoods:
Healthy coastal ecosystems are central to Mauritius's overall economic vitality. Around 70% of commercial fish species depend on mangroves, particularly in their juvenile stages. Not only are fisheries reliant upon healthy mangroves, so too is the growing tourist industry in Mauritius. Tourism has become an increasingly important source of revenue for the country as a whole, and much of this tourism centers around coastal attractions. Therefore, the restoration and protection of mangroves, and thus of the larger coastal ecosystem, will help ensure a vital source of income and livelihood.
Awareness campaigns are conducted to educate the public and the fishermen community about the importance of mangroves. The following are also included:
1. Distribution of pamphlets to school children and the fishermen community;
2. Delivering of talks at Community Centres and at the Albion Fisheries Research Centre (during guided visits);
3. Communication through mass media and press.
Sources and Amounts of Funding
This project was conducted under the auspices of the Mauritius Ministry of Fisheries.
Albion Fisheries Research Centre
Republic of Mauritius Ministry of Fisheries