Managing Mayotte’s under threat mangroves

10 June 2013 | Article

Ever since the mid 20th Century, Mayotte’s mangroves have steadily been in decline due largely to major development projects encroaching on these important biodiversity hotspots. Although measures are now being taken to rectify the situation, more action is required and this is exactly why IUCN is aiming to support Mayotte’s mangrove conservation efforts over the coming years.

In the 1950s, Mayotte’s mangroves occupied approximately 750 hectares of space, whilst today this figure stands at approximately 666 hectares. Most worryingly, the decline in mangroves has been most rapid in recent years due in part to the pressures of urban crawl, agricultural demand for land and coastal erosion. The later pressure has in fact been amplified because of the simultaneous loss of coral reef coverage that once acted as a barrier to coastal mangroves.

The mangroves of Mayotte provide numerous and vital ecosystem services to the island, such as providing coastal and lagoon protection and water purification services, and they act as a natural sanctuary to many of the island’s incredible and endemic species.

Over recent years several restoration projects have been initiated by the Conservatoire du Littoral, the botanical Conservatoire and Mayotte’s Department for Environment particularly on the sites of Baie de Dzoumonye et de Longoni, Mangrove de la Baie de Bouéni, Vasière des Badamiers et Anse d'Hajangoua. One of the more recent projects has involved recreating mangrove conditions through a range of experimental planting techniques and island wide educational campaigns have also helped involve Mayotte’s citizens and young people in conservation efforts.

One of the problems that IUCN French National Committee has identified is a short fall in the amount of adequate data and research for the purpose of developing policy tools to support restoration efforts. Such knowledge is also crucial for the sustainable management of Mayotte’s coastal environment and the exploitation of resources held in the islands lagoons. Here, IUCN Committee is looking to build upon existing research efforts and to initiate a case study for the development of a Red List for Mayotte’s mangroves. With such an approach, decision makers should be made more aware of the key threats and better positioned to take effective action where it is most needed.

Sources:

  • Cremades Caroline (2010), Cartographie des habitats naturels des mangroves de Mayotte, DAAF.
  • DEAL, Programme mangrove, 2012