Seychelles third most forested country on earth


16-May-2009

The assessment is carried out by more than 800 people, including national correspondents, advisory groups, international experts, staff from the FAO’s Forestry Department and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, consultants and volunteers from around the world.

Information from various countries is collected and analysed, leading to a comprehensive forest report being drawn up. 

According to the State of the World’s Forests report 2009, about 30% of the planet’s surface is forested. The four most heavily forested countries (not including non-independent territories) are Small Island Developing States (SIDS): Suriname 94.7%; the Federated States of Micronesia 90.6%; Seychelles 88.9%; and Palau 87.6%. 

Out of the total of 45,000 hectares in Seychelles, 40,000 ha are covered by forest. When compared to other African countries, Seychelles is considered as a country with a very low rate of deforestation.

This achievement has been attributed to the diligence of the country, which places great emphasis on protecting its environment.

More than 47% of the land has been designated as protected areas, and this is expected to increase as more islands become involved in rehabilitation and restoration work. Government, NGOs and the private sector are working on various programmes to rehabilitate and restore degraded areas. Also, stronger legislation is being developed with concrete management plans to provide for sustainable exploitation of the natural resources.

As in any SIDS, the ecosystems that are being preserved for new generations are being continuously threatened. For example, the spread of invasive species is alarming and is putting the survival of our unique species at risk.

Our forests are a habitat for at least 250 species of vascular plants, of which 72.8% are endemic and 12.0% are protected under the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Many efforts are being made either to control or eradicate the invasive species that are attacking our forests.

Development is also threatening this complex ecosystem as many areas with trees are giving way to infrastructure. Although the economic gain from these developments is high, this cannot outweigh the cost of the destruction caused to the environment.

This is why the government has developed criteria that provide for ecologically sustainable development. All developments have to be screened by the Department of Environment and the Planning Authority.

Though we have achieved a great deal in maintaining and enhancing the forest ecosystem, there is still more to be done as our economy and population are getting bigger each day, increasing the demand for natural resources from the same land mass.

We all have the responsibility to continue maintaining our forests, not only to safeguard the habitats of our unique biodiversity but because we depend on them for our very survival.

Our pictures show the wide variety of trees and the density of our forests. 

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