Found inside the lagoon
off the north east coast of Mauritius, Ile D'Ambre is about 140 hectares
in total area. Its nearest point is only about 400 metres from the coast
line. The island is under the responsibility of the Forestry Services
of the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources.
Much of the coastline of
l'ile d'Ambre is surrounded by mangrove trees or rocks. There practically
are no sandy beaches, except on ilot Bernache which is very close to
ile d'Ambre and can be considered to be part of it.
The Mangrove on this island is doing well and new seedlings canbe seen
growing out of the sand.
Before the arrival of man,
a number of native palm species and a lowland endemic forest were present
on the island. Subsequently, a commercial forest plantation consisting
of Tecoma and Pine trees was established on the island.
In the north east a very
small colony of ten endemic palm trees ( Latania loddigessii) still
exists but there appears to be no regeneration.
In certain parts of the
island, outgrowth of Aloe plants, Furcraea foetida is a threat to the
forest floor as it is to the few remaining stretches of lowland forests
on the main land.
The bird life consists of
five different species of which one is endemic, the Grey
It is surprising to note
that there is a very good population of butterflies on the island, some
of which are endemic.
The following table lists
the species of butterflies found on the island.
No scientific study of these
butterflies has been done yet with respect to population dynamics, diversity
or ecological importance.
There is the potential danger
of fire breakouts wiping out the butterflies population. The undergrowth
of the island must be managed to ensure survival of the species.
On the island, there are a few interesting features like a small and
old stone building most probably erected when the island was French,
an inland salt lake and a marshy salt pond.
Marshy Salt Pond
Pointe Bernache or also known as Ilot Bernache is part of Ile D'Ambre.
This very small island, less than 2 acres in size, is a stone's throw
off the main body of Ile D'Ambre.
It is in a highly degraded state and the flora that survives consists
of a few casuarina trees and some species of grass and shrubs.
A beach on Ilot Bernache
There are one or two beautiful stretches of sandy beaches and it is
often visited by tourists for the day. The rest of the island's beaches
are made up of rocks and boulders.
Biodiversity and Environment Institute
The Biodiversity and Environment Institute has received funds from
the United Nations Development Fund for the rehabilitation of this island.
The programme is underway.
The programme consists of
the following projects:
- A data bank on the ecology of the island.
- Population studies to ascertain growth and regeneration of species.
- Socio-cultural surveys of the utilisation of the area by the local
- Impact Assessment Studies related to tourism to develop a strategy
for eco tourism.
- Sustainable cropping of wild fruits, wood for handicraft, fodder
and plant materials.
- Training programmes for local residents and students in the sustainable
use of the islets.
- Sooknah, K. , A Project
Proposal Paper to UNDP for GEF, Biodiversity and Environment Institute,
- Conservation Unit and
Press Service, Ile D'Ambre, The Main Features, Ministry of Agriculture,
Fisheries & Natural Resources, 1988.