Native flora to conquer the cities.

The Conservatoire Botanique National of Mascarin has received support from the FEDER to develop a programme of revegetation of the island's urban areas with native plants.

Slowly but surely, the idea is gaining ground: to use species specifically from Reunion Island to green public spacesto help safeguard the island's biodiversity. At the end of the 1990s, various partners had drawn up a green list of indigenous plants - present on the island before the arrival of man - recommended in the development operations, but due to a lack of funding for its implementation, the approach had not gone beyond the stage of intentions," recalls Luc Gigord, Director General of the Conservatoire Botanique de Mascarin (CBNM). A few years ago, it was relaunched following a ministerial call for projects and named DAUPI (Démarche Aménagement Urbain et Plantes indigènes)".

150 species proposed

Mascarain has selected 150 species, drawn up descriptive sheets to make them known, developed technical production itineraries for nurserymen, inventoried the arboretums where these plants are grown in order to avoid taking them from the wild.

This first phase of construction of the tools continued in 2015 at the request of the State, which commissioned the Conservatory to create a web platform with a practical vocation, presenting the plants adapted to each zone of the island, as well as a directory of all the partners adhering to the approach.

In April, an FEDER grant of €380,000 (of which 30% was contributed by the Region) was awarded to the CBNM for the continuation of the DAUPI program: consolidating tools, developing exchanges with planners, elected officials, technicians and raising public awareness of the interest of non-invasive exotic species, such as the flamboyant or other heritage species, also have their place in the developments, says Luc Gigord. However, we need to warn about the risks of certain invasive species. To convince professionals to stop using exotic species, we propose substitute native species with the same qualities.

Several municipalities have already joined the project. You can see benzoins, arnette woods or caterpillar woods growing on the edge of several streets in the city centre. Recently, the surroundings of the EDF factory, of Sainte-Rose have also been planted with indigenous plants

Slowly but surely, Reunion Island will be able to acquire an original landscape identity, while safeguarding its plant heritage.

Source : Le Quotidien

See article