New Caledonia is a global biodiversity hotspot – the smallest single hotspot in the world. It is home to extremely rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity, and has one of the highest observed rates of endemism in the world for terrestrial flora. New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the Pacific, is in the spotlight in this month’s European Country Focus.
New Caledonia’s remarkable plant diversity consists of 3,261 species of indigenous flora (74% strictly endemic), which is nearly as many as on the whole of continental Europe (3,500 species).The territory also hosts 106 species of endemic reptiles, 6 species of endemic bats and 4,500 species of invertebrates (90% endemic). The birdlife of New Caledonia includes 23 species of endemic birds. Since 2008, the lagoons of New Caledonia and their reef diversity and associated ecosystems are designated in the UNESCO List of World Natural Heritage sites.
IUCN Members in New Caledonia are the New Caledonian South Province and the Association for the Protection of the Nature of New Caledonia. IUCN Members French Marine Protected Areas Agency, WWF-France, Conservation International, the IUCN French Committee and others work closely with local Members and partners in the country.