The islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues are part of the Madagascar and Indian Ocean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot. With high level of plant endemism, the flora of the islands has been studied for over 250 years. Human activity has severely impacted biodiversity, the most well-known example being the extinction of the endemic dodo (Raphus cucullatus) in Mauritius. Now, the majority of native plants in both islands are threatened with extinction because of past deforestation and increasing levels of invasion by alien species.
This project focuses on the mobilization and imaging of existing data from The Mauritius Herbarium. This data will be useful in multiple ways, from support to native plant conservation to improve quality of food production, through organic agriculture, both essential to ensuring human well-being, healthy ecosystems and adaptation to climate change.
With the project organizer, Le Vélo Vert, initiating a pilot to mainstream organic agriculture, data sharing will demonstrate the value of cooperation, correct identification and suggest best non-crop species to help improve organic farming. The project is expected to bring together stakeholders of different fields to improve perspectives and multidisciplinarity, much needed to face the increasing problems of declining biodiversity and resources, and a growing human population.