Reunion Island’s rugged landscape and its extreme climatic variations have resulted in a great diversity of habitats. Depending on the altitude and orientation of the hillsides, there are savannahs, semi-arid forests, swampy thickets, high altitude rainforests and mountain forests. Close to 193 natural environments have been documented (Nomenclature Corine Biotope) and 30% of the total area of the island is still covered by large swathes of native vegetation. These sanctuaries house over 750 species of vascular plants (34% native), 250 species of mosses, 68 species of terrestrial molluscs (21 native), and 18 species of native terrestrial birds (7 endemic).
Three species of marine turtle can be seen on Reunion Island, the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas), the Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta). After a gap of several years, populations of Green Turtle have begun returning to nest on the island.
A marine nature reserve stretches over 20 to 25 kilometres of reef and the Parc National des Hauts de La Reunion covers 1,000 km² or approximately 42% of the surface of the island. Since 2010, a central area of 'pitons, cirques and ramparts' is designated in the UNESCO List of World Natural Heritage sites. Read more