“Restoring Grande Montagne Nature Reserve through Community Participation”
“Restoring Grande Montagne Nature Reserve through Community Participation”
1.1 Project Summary
The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation is dedicated to the conservation of the native ecosystems of Mauritius and Rodrigues. In Rodrigues, it has a specialisation in habitat restoration and has a long-term involvement in Nature Reserves on both mainland areas (Grande Montagne and Anse Quitor) and on islets (Ile Cocos and Ile aux Sables).

Rodrigues is part of one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities – the Madagascar and Indian Ocean Islands Hotspots – but the Mascarenes may warrant being a separate hotspot. Rodrigues’ original fauna and flora is unique; however, it has suffered from the onslaught of four centuries of degradation, which has destroyed much of Rodrigues’ rich biodiversity. Surviving plants are reduced to a single individual or a handful of individuals or small isolated populations. To address species decline and forest fragmentation, MWF has focused much of its expertise on habitat and species restoration.

Grande Montagne is a biodiversity rich region with high endemism (27 of the 39 remaining endemic rodriguan plants represented). Nearly 20 of the 25.5 ha fenced area (encompassing 13.76 ha of the officially declared Nature Reserve) has been restored to date. The once thought to be extinct café marron (Ramosmania rodriguesii) is protected here along with other rare plants including the bois papaye (Badula balfourii), mandrinette (Hibiscus liliiflorus), bois lubine (Poupartia castanea), and Gouania leguatii, each having less than 10 individuals in the wild. Grande Montagne provides a habitat for the only 3 surviving endemic animals of Rodrigues (Rodrigues Warbler, Rodrigues Fody and Rodrigues Fruit Bat). Entomological research that MWF supports has led to discoveries of insects not previously known to Science. Through the planting of seedlings of endemic plants, this project will contribute to combating climate change through carbon dioxide sequestration and habitat creation is thought to be one of the best adaptations to climate change. The project also addresses Land Degradation and Sustainable Forest Management, major environmental issues in Rodrigues. The challenge this project intends to address directly is the protection and conservation of threatened endemic biodiversity, control of invasive alien species, and drastically reduced native Rodriguan forest cover.

The primary objective of this project is to improve the biodiversity conservation and the sustainability of a protected area in Rodrigues through community-based actions. This project will build upon recent restoration efforts in Grande Montagne Nature Reserve, as 9 ha have undergone initial restoration since 2008. Other habitat restoration efforts in Rodrigues have been supported by GEF (World Bank and UNDP) with the collaboration of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (through the Forestry Service) and local communities. The restoration of Grande Montagne Nature Reserve project addresses both biodiversity and climate change challenges and helps to accomplish two of the SGP OP5 immediate objectives, specifically Immediate Objective 1 and 2. The project will have an important social component by employing local villagers to demonstrate that conservation is a provider of ‘green jobs’ and will also involve the local communities. Through this project, MWF hopes to reinforce its team of local villagers for the restoration and maintenance of the nature reserve, restore 3 hectares of degraded forest with nursery grown native plants, remove invasive alien species from 9 hectares of recently restored plots, organize educational talks, tours, and Conservation Work Days to involve the local community, and develop educational material. MWF has recently developed a Grande Montagne Guide and hopes to be involved with ecotours within the reserve.

1.2 Organizational Background & Capacity to implement project
1.2.1 Background on the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation
The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) is a Registered Charity (No.2134) established in 1984, and is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) registered (No. 1070). MWF works in close cooperation with the Government of Mauritius and the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA), formalised in two memorandums of understanding (MOU). The MOU with the RRA is attached. The headquarters is located in Vacoas, Mauritius and the Rodrigues branch is based in Solitude. MWF is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the application for membership to BirdLife International is being considered in the last week of March 2012 at their African regional meeting. MWF is the only national NGO to be exclusively concerned with the conservation of terrestrial endemic species and their habitats, and in Rodrigues has a specialization in ecosystems restoration. The principal objective of the organisation is to save threatened native and endemic species from extinction.

MWF’s projects are overseen by a council consisting of 15 members and supervised by the following senior managers:
• The organisation’s work is overseen by an Executive Director
• The hands-on conservation work is advised by a Scientific Director, supported by the Conservation Manager, Flora Manager, and Fauna Manager
• In Rodrigues, MWF’s conservation work is managed by the Rodrigues Manager, who manages a team of 13 full-time nursery, field, and education staff along with 8 contracted restoration labourers.

1.2.2 Purpose & Core activities of the MWF
The principal purposes of MWF are:
• Save the threatened native and endemic species of Mauritius, Rodrigues, and associated islands through species management and the restoration of the entire ecosystems.
• Seek new information through field research, data management, captive studies, and scientific collaboration for direct application to restoration methods and management.
• Share knowledge gained through restoration programmes with fellow national and international conservationists.
• Share joys & benefits of native wilderness and wildlife with the nation’s people.
• Secure the future of the nation’s native and endemic species through income generation and sound management of human, fiscal, and capital resources.

The main current activities of MWF in Mauritius are:
• Conservation, research, education, and ecotourism on Ile aux Aigrettes (26ha)
• Propagation, planting & weed management on Round Island (219 ha), along with fauna studies including seabird and reptile work
• MWF’s work in the area of captive-breeding and hands-on management of endemic animal has gained international acclaim. MWF has saved the Mauritius Kestrel, and have pulled the Pink Pigeon and Echo Parakeet back from the brink of extinction and is now working on saving the Mauritius Fody & Olive White-eye
• Developing methods to save the most critically endangered plant species through propagations in our nurseries, representation in field genebanks, reintroduction into protected areas, and protection of wild founders.

The main current activities of MWF in Rodrigues are:
• Habitat restoration programmes in Grande Montagne & Anse Quitor Nature Reserves with planting of nursery grown plants & maintenance weeding
• A plant restoration nursery at Solitude where rare plants are propagated
• Restoring plant communities & conducting seabird surveys on island Nature Reserves (Ile Cocos and Ile aux Sables)
• An education programme working in schools and villages conducting educational talks, educational tours of nature reserves, and organising Conservation Days for community volunteers.
• Long-term studies on the endemic Rodrigues Fruit Bat, Warbler, and Fody

1.2.3 Previous experience specifically related to the proposed project
MWF has successfully managed and implemented a wide range of conservation and awareness raising projects. Current work includes:
• Restoration of native forests of Rodrigues (Grande Montagne & Anse Quitor), Mauritius, and its offshore island nature reserves
• Restoring the wildlife communities on Ile Cocos and Ile aux Sables
• Restoration of the plant and animal communities on Round Island and Ile aux Aigrettes
• Conservation of critically endangered plant species of Mauritius and Rodrigues
• Community education in biodiversity and conservation in Rodrigues
• Monitoring of the critically endangered Rodrigues Fruit Bat, Rodrigues Warbler and Rodrigues Fody

1.3 Project Objectives and Expected Results
1.3.1 Problem Statement
The challenge this project intends to address is the protection and conservation of threatened endemic biodiversity, control of invasive alien species, reduction of land degradation, and decreasing native Rodriguan forest cover.

1.3.2 Primary Objective and Specific Objectives
The primary objective of this project is to improve the biodiversity conservation and the sustainability of a protected area in Rodrigues through community-based actions. The specific objectives are:
• Increase the extent of restored native forest on Rodrigues, so that it represents a viable long term safeguard for unique Rodriguan plants and animals
• Protect the biodiversity and rare plant species of Grande Montagne region
• Enhance carbon stocks in forest
• Abate land degradation
• Reduce invasive alien species
• Improve habitat (quantitatively & qualitatively) for the only three remaining endemic animals in Rodrigues
• Alleviate poverty, provide alternative employment and be sensitive to gender issues
• Increase awareness of Rodriguan endemic flora and the Grande Montagne Nature Reserve through community participation

 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Mauritian Wildlife Foundation
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Climate Change Mitigation
Land Degradation
Operational Phase:
Phase 5
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 195,484.09
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 2,483.00
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP5/CORE/BD/12/05
Start Date:
7/2012
End Date:
6/2014
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Gender Focus
Although this project is physically demanding, efforts will be made to employ both female and male restoration labourers. MWF has a gender neutral policy, and though not deliberate, its staffing is skewed to female members. This project demonstrates female empowerment since the Rodrigues Administrator, Nature Reserves Officer, Nature Reserves Senior Assistant responsible for Grande Montagne Nature Reserve, Nursery Officer, and Educator are all women. This directly influences all these families as an income is secured during the project, thus increasing the standard of living within each family.
Replication of project activities
It is indeed a replication of a former similar project funded by the SGP, Mauritius.
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Indicators
Biophysical
Number of globally significant species protected by project 36
Biophysical
Hectares of land sustainably managed by project 9
Livehood
Number of individuals (gender diaggregated) who have benefited* from SGP project 7

Grantee Contact

Ms Andrea Waterstone
Phone: 876 1978
Email: awaterstone@mauritian-wildlife.org
 

Address

Solitude, Rodrigues
.

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
Phone:
(230) 213 53 84
Fax:
(230) 212 14 11
Email:
Mr. Fidèle Ange HONVOU
Phone:
2135384
Fax:
2121411
Email:

Address

2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
Port Louis, Mauritius

Country Website