- Seychelles has become the first small island nation in the world to develop an integrated national strategy for plant conservation under the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), the Seychellois government announced today.
The Secretary-General of the UK-based Botanical Garden Conservation International, Dr Peter Wyne-Jackson, said this on 17 March in the Seychellois capital, Victoria, when the country put together the strategy under the leadership of a non-governmental organisation called Plant Conservation Action group.
Dr Wyne-Jackson was quoted by the Seychellois government as saying that Seychelles is home to the largest percentage of the world's endangered flora in the world.
During the workshop, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Ronny Jumeau welcomed the initiative, regretting that during "the mere 234 years of permanent human habitation in Seychelles," five percent of the islands' native plants are already extinct and another 10 percent are critically threatened.
Dr Wyne-Jackson said that there are few plants which rival the panda, elephant or rhino as does the unique coco de mer palm, which only grows on the islands. Minister Jumeau however lamented that there are only 1,500 of the nuts produced by the palm available to the 120,000 tourists who visit the archipelago annually.
The government of Seychelles has been known to implement far-reaching environmental policies in response to the fragile ecology of the archipelago, which has grown to become one of its principal tourism assets. In addition to the large number of endangered plants, Seychelles hosts many endemic species of birds and turtles.
Protection of endangered plants has become one of the archipelago's main environmental efforts during the last years. Only in January this year, the Ministry of Environment announced it was to offer rewards to owners of small home gardens in a bid to save disappearing varieties of fruit and vegetables.
The protection of Seychelles' unique biodiversity has been increasingly complicated by alien invasive species reaching the archipelago. Imported plant species have been defined as "the greatest menace" to the many endemic plant species in Seychelles.
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