Seychelles is a living museum of natural history and a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora & fauna on earth. With almost 50% of its limited landmass set aside as national parks and reserves, Seychelles prides itself on its record for far sighted conservation policies that have resulted in an enviable degree of protection for the environment and the varied ecosystems it supports. This had made Seychelles a front-runner in environmental management in the Indian Ocean region because the Government recognises the importance of sustainable environmental management and the conservation of biodiversity as the basis for its socio-economic development.

1Nowhere else on earth will you find unique endemic specimens such as the fabulous Coco-de-mer (Lodoicea maldivica), the largest seed in the world, the jellyfish tree (Medusagyne oppositifolia), the Seychelles’ paradise flycatcher(Terpsiphone corvina), and the Seychelles warbler(Acrocephalus sechellensis).

Seychelles is also home to two U.N.E.S.C.O World Heritage Sites: Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll and the Vallée de Mai, where one can admire the Aldabra giant tortoise (Dipsochelys dussumieri) and the Coco-de-mer palm (Lodoicea maldivica) respectively in their natural habitat.
1From the smallest frog to the heaviest land tortoise and the only flightless bird of the Indian Ocean, Seychelles nurtures an amazing array of some 7,200 species of animals, plants and fungi within surrounds of exceptional natural beauty. No wonder it is considered as one of the ‘biodiversity hotspots’ in the world!

With its extensive coastline, coral reefs, mangrove sites, and 21 formal protected areas covering a total area of 54,813ha, of which 24,978ha is terrestrial and 29,836ha is marine, Seychelles faces the typical constraints of Small Island Developing State (SIDS); small land area and population, remoteness from major markets, limited natural resources and environmental vulnerability.

Its most valued assets are its exceptionally beautiful landscape, and thriving fishing and tourism industries which represent the two major economic sectors of the country. But the success of these production sectors depend heavily on the maintenance of good fishing stocks, well-preserved beaches and landscapes, because the well-being and continual development of the people of Seychelles are closely linked with the environment and the wise management of its natural resources.

Seychelles’ biodiversity is nonetheless at risk of destruction, and in some instances outright extinction, from a variety of human induced pressures and other factors. For example, conversion of habitats for tourism, industrial, urban or agricultural activities, effects of invasive alien species, forest fires, , and the risks of environmental degradation, like soil erosion mainly caused by the effects of climate change.

The Government of Seychelles, through the Department of Environment and its local and international stakeholders has committed itself to creating a prosperous and equitable society, living in harmony with its natural resources whilst protecting the country’s rich biodiversity heritage for the benefit of its citizens and the future generation.

Photo Credit : Mike Betts

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