Hostname: page-component-cd4964975-96cn4 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-31T13:20:58.023Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

A study of the ecological history, vegetation and conservation management of Ile aux Aigrettes, Mauritius

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 July 2009

John A. N. Parnell
School of Botany, Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Q. Cronk
Forestry Quarters, Black River, Mauritius
P. Wyse Jackson
Botany School, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EA, U.K.
W. Strahm
Trinity College Botanic Garden, Palmerston Park, Dublin, Republic of Ireland


Much of the unique native vegetation of Mauritius has been destroyed. Coastal ebony (Diospyros egrettarum I.B.K. Richardson) forest forms an extreme type of Mauritian lowland forest which no longer exists on mainland Mauritius and only survives on one offshore islet, Ile aux Aigrettes. Undisturbed D. egrettarum forest is resistant to invasion by exotic plants, which have now invaded most relict patches of native lowland vegetation in Mauritius. Human disturbance however, has allowed many exotics (particularly Flacourtia indica (Burm. fil.) Merrill) to invade and form new vegetation types. Much of the disturbance was caused by illegal woodcutting up to 1985, prompted by an acute fuelwood shortage in Mauritius. On the basis of 132 4 X 4 m quadrats, we recognize 10 types of natural, semi-natural and exotic vegeta-tion. The conservation of the remaining natural ebony woodland vegetation requires the total cessation of woodcutting and the eradication of Tabebuia pallida (Lindl.) Miers (potentially the most damaging exotic species).

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1989

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Allen, S. E., Grimshaw, M. H., Parkinson, J. A. & Quarmby, C. 1973. Chemical analysis of ecological materials. Blackwell, Oxford. 565 pp.Google Scholar
Barnwell, P. J. 1955. Early place names of Mauritius. Some comments and queries. La Revue Retro-spective de l'Ile Maurice 6(3): 167180.Google Scholar
Cheke, A. S. 1987a. The legacy of the dodo - conservation in Mauritius. Oryx 21(1):2936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cheke, A. S. 1987b. An ecological history of the Mascarene Islands with particular reference to extinctions and introductions of land vertebrates. Pp. 5–89 in Diamond, A. W. (ed.). Studies of Masca-rene Island birds. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 458 pp.Google Scholar
Hill, M. O. 1979a. DECORANA - A FORTRAN program for detrended correspondence analysis and reciprocal averaging. Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell University. 30 pp.Google Scholar
Hill, M. O. 1979b. TWINSPAN - A FORTRAN program for arranging multivariate data in an ordered two-way table by classification of individuals and attributes. Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell University.Google Scholar
Hoffman, J. C. 1680. Voyage aux Indes orientates ou journal personnel dans lequel sont dècrits briève-ment, mais avec précision les vénements remarquables survenus au cours d'un voyage dans les mers de l'Inde, dans I'Indé même et dans divers autre pays, ainsi que les habitants, les animaux rares et les belles plantes des lieux visités. Cassel, (author). F. Hertzog. [Section on Mauritius reprinted in Vérin (1983) q.v. pp. 97100].Google Scholar
Hollingworth, P. D. 1961. The place names of Mauritius. Government Printer, Port Louis.Google Scholar
Johnston, H. H. 1984. Report on the flora of He aux Aigrettes, Mauritius. Transactions of the Botani-cal Society of Edinburgh 20:317331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johnston, H. H. 1895. Additions to the flora of Mauritius as recorded in Baker's ‘Flora of Mauritius and the Seychelles’. Transactions and Proceedings of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh 20:391407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krog, H. ' Swinscow, T. D. W. 1981. Parmelia subgenus Amphigymnia (lichens) in East Africa. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) 9:143231.Google Scholar
Lorence, D. H. & Sussman, R. W. 1986. Exotic invasion into Mauritius wet forest remnants. Journal of Tropical Ecology 2:147162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Owadally, W. 1980. Some forest pests and diseases in Mauritius. Revue Agricole de Vile Maurice 59:7694.Google Scholar
Padya, B. M. 1984. The climate of Mauritius. Meteorological Office, Mauritius. 217 pp.Google Scholar
Parnell, J., Wyse Jackson, P. & Cronk, Q. 1986. A Paradise about to be lost. New Scientist 112:4447.Google Scholar
Sauer, J. 1961. Coastal plant geography of Mauritius. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press. 153 pp.Google Scholar
Thompson, R. 1880. Report on the forests of Mauritius: their present condition and future management. Port Louis, Mauritius, Mercantile Record Company.Google Scholar
Vaughan, R. E. & Wiehe, P. O. 1937. Studies on the vegetation of Mauritius. 1. A preliminary survey of the plant communities. Journal of Ecology 25:289343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vaughan, R. E. & Wiehe, P. O. 1939. Studies on the vegetation of Mauritius. II. The effect of environment on certain features of leaf structure. Journal of Ecology 27:263281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vérin, P. 1983. Maurice Avant I'Isle de France. Fernand Nathan, France. 127 pp.Google Scholar
Wyse Jackson, P. S., Parnell, J., Cronk, Q. & Strahm, W. 1985. Propagation of endangered Mauritian plants for conservation. Unpublished report to IUCN. 16 pp.Google Scholar
Wyse Jackson, P. S., Strahm, W., Cronk, Q. C. & Parnell, J. A. N. 1988. The propagation of endangered plants in Mauritius. Moorea 7:3545.Google Scholar