The Restoration Project
The Petite-Montagne is a hill located in the heart of Port-Louis between 30 to 80 m above sea level. The natural vegetation that once covered the hill was removed during the early stages of the construction of the Fort Adelaïde (aka Citadel) in the 18th Century. Today, the biodiversity of the hill overwhelmingly consist of invasive alien plants classified into four main types of biotopes. The invasion by herbaceous alien species make the place highly prone to wildfires that spread several times a year.
It is likely that the original vegetation was a dry forest. Dry forests are perhaps the most endangered of tropical forest types as they are easier to clear. In 2010, a pilot-project was conceived and implemented by “Friends of the Environment” (FoE) to reinstate a native plant cover (dry forest) on the Petite-Montagne. Since 2015, full implementation of the restoration programme is being carried out with site specific experience, adaptive management and improved restoration techniques.
FoE is the only charitable conservation organisation specialised in the restoration of degraded landscape in urbanised area of Mauritius. The restoration project ultimate goals are biodiversity recovery, environmental protection, enhancing human well-being and ecotourism. With only 16 m² of green space per person in Port-louis, the project would create a unique green corridor contributing to the extension of the Protected Area Network (PAN) of the island. Furthermore, the project is an inclusive process that encourages collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders including local people, governmental bodies and the private sectors. We recommend 35 m² of green space per capita, achievable through the full-scale restoration of the Petite-Montagne and surrounding areas.