Monitoring of biodiversity critical for Mayotte

19 June 2013 | Article
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One of the key issues affecting Mayotte’s ability to prioritise conservation work concerns a lack of knowledge and understanding of the very biological diversity captured on and around the island. However, both IUCN French National Committee and Mayotte’s Department of Ecology are helping turn this situation around by updating inventories of the island’s species in order to provide more information for better conservation. 

Until fairly recently, the understanding of Mayotte’s biological diversity both terrestrially and in the marine and coastal environment has been relatively basic with only a modest understanding of the number and range of species existent on the island.

However, over the past few years and with the greater awareness of the need to combat environmental pressures impacting on the island, there has been a shift in mindset and a greater acceptance of the need to fully monitor the island’s biodiversity. Fortunately, the urgency to complete inventories and maintain monitoring programmes across Mayotte – such as monitoring of coral reefs, sea turtles observatories, temporal monitoring of common birds etc. – is also shared by all the key stakeholders in the country.

In 2012, the Department of Ecology launched a program to audit specific biodiversity hotspots and over the past year there have been numerous successful missions to identify and record the flora and natural habitats, fungi, birds, reptiles and amphibians, bats, insects, arthropods and insects (work focusing on Mayotte’s lagoons will be undertaken later this year and until 2014).

It is hoped that through these improved monitoring programmes and the current development and update of the Mayotte Red List by IUCN French Committee the new flow of knowledge will contribute towards the creation of a network of protected areas. Such an approach is much needed in order to improve upon the 0.1% of land that is currently protected and thus contribute towards the islands’ battle to prevent the loss of its incredible biodiversity.

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