Mauritius: As part of the Mauritius Ridge to Reef (R2R) project that aims to promote forest restoration and the creation of new endemic forest cover, 500 endemic trees were planted yesterday at the Pétrin Visitors’ Centre in Black River.
The Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Republic of Mauritius and Seychelles, Mr Vincent Degert, the Acting Director of the National Parks and Conservation Service (NPCS), Mr Vinesh Gopal, and other personalities were present on occasion.
In his address, Mr Degert highlighted that the R2R project funded by the EU aims at increasing the climate resilience of our forest ecosystems through upscaling forest restoration activities as well as increasing native and endemic tree cover.
The EU has provided a grant of four million Euros over a period of five years for the implementation of the Mauritius Ridge to Reef project, he added.
On this note, the Ambassador recalled that the Financing Agreement was signed between the EU and the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security in December 2020 and provided for the NPCs to be the government department responsible for the implementation of this project.
He also dwelt on the importance of involving the youths in the project to better fight climate change as they are the future of this planet, as well as on the need to review production and consumption habits to the current environmental worldwide situation.
Ambassador Degert underlined that trees serve an important purpose in terms of climate change mitigation and are essential in the fight against the high level of pollution caused by countries in the northern part of the world.
On this note, he spoke of the EU’s objective to plant three billion trees across EU countries by 2030, as well as the target of the NPCs with regards to planting 100,000 native trees annually under the R2R project. Mr Degert appealed to the participants to promote the planting of endemic trees within the local community so as to reach this objective.
For his part, Mr Gopal indicated that this tree planting activity was organised by the NPCs in collaboration with the EU Delegation to Mauritius in order to increase awareness of the R2R project goal of increasing tree coverage in Mauritius. The Restoration activity started at the Pétrin forest as it has been heavily impacted by the invasion of strawberry guava, most commonly known as “Goyave de Chine”, he added.
The NPC’s Acting Director pointed out that the EU has a strong goal which is to involve all people in restoring what has been stolen from the environment and to encourage the population to plant trees.
On this note, Mr Gopal appealed to the population to take the initiative to plant even one single tree in their place, given that the Mauritian population stands at almost 1.2 million; this will contribute immensely to mitigating the effects of climate change.
Tree Planting under the Mauritius R2R project
The Mauritius R2R project, which consists of planting more than 100,000 native and endemic trees annually as part of its forest and other natural ecosystems restoration activities, has been funded by the EU.
Facilities at the Native Plant Propagation Center of the NPCs in Curepipe will be improved to increase its capacity for the propagation and production of endemic plant species, and the technical capacity of the NPCS staff will equally be enhanced to support its programme for the recovery of critically endangered plant species.
Through the project, it is expected that green jobs will be created, and the local community will participate in the restoration of the environment.