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Coloraie du Volcan Forest Managed Biological Reserves
Réserves biologiques dirigées (RBD) de la forêt de la Coloraie du Volcan

First Listed

2021

Area
2.98km2

Why is it Green Listed?

Coloraie du Volcan Forest Managed Biological Reserves (MBR) are devoted to reinforced protection regulations and specific management of two remarkable types of natural habitats of La Réunion island : littoral habitats of the rocky coast (Littoral de Saint-Philippe) and lowland hygrophilous forest (Bois de couleurs des Bas). Those habitats have severly diminished since human occupation of La Reunion island at the XVIIth century, because of clearing for agriculture and urbanization. Compared to those lowland and costal habitats, habitats of the mountainous center of the island, much less densely occupied, have been historically much more preserved from human impact.

Coloraie du Volcan Forest MBR main objectives are : fight against various threats (land encroachment, species removal), régulation of human activities (tourism, vanilla cultivation), fight against invasive exotic species.

We are glad that efficient management and good state of conservation of 7 new French sites have been recognized by the Green List Program! I have no doubt they will constitute inspirational sources and new references for future applicants. Diversity and richness of habitats, species, governance systems and protection status of French Continental and Overseas territories are now well represented by those 22 Greenlisted sites. They will very soon be engaged in the creation of the Francophone Green List network and globally contribute to the international influence of the Green List.

Attaché emeritus of the French Natural Museum of Natural History and EAGL Chair France, Jean-Philippe SIBLET

Key Achievements

Conservation

  • Restauration operations have been efficient to maintain or enhance endangered and characteristic habitats ecological state
  • More than 20 local species have been protected thanks to invasive alien species eradication actions

Good governance

  • Fight against invasive alien species is conducted with Vanilla farmers’ strong implication
  • Local elected stakeholders supported the creation of those Biological Reserves

Community benefits

  • Vanilla sustainable exploitation as a cultural activity and a major economic activity for Saint-Philippe is maintained and promoted
  • Recreational interest for residents and tourists
  • Hydrological regulation and protection from salt spray for agricultural and residential areas

We are so proud for this integration in the Green List protected area! It’s been a long process and hard collective work, but the goal is effective protection of very specific tropical island natural habitats et numerous endemic species, with integration of local communities.

Coloraie du Volcan Forest Managed Biological Reserves

Site Attributes

Size
2.98km2

Designation(s)
Managed Biological Reserves

IUCN Category
IV - Habitat/Species Management Area

Year Established
2020

Marine Protected Area
No

Governance Type
Federal or national ministry or agency

Site Agency
Office National des Forêts (ONF)

Site Manager
Julien Triolo

Application
11.04.2019

EAGL Evaluation
03/03/2020

GL Committee Submission
03/02/2021

EAGL Chair
Jean-Philippe SIBLET

ASI Reviewer
Mounia Essefiani

Site Summary

Coloraie du Volcan Forest Managed Biological Reserves (MBR) are devoted to reinforced protection regulations and specific management of two remarkable types of natural habitats of La Réunion island : littoral habitats of the rocky coast (Littoral de Saint-Philippe) and lowland hygrophilous forest (Bois de couleurs des Bas). Those habitats have severly diminished since human occupation of La Reunion island at the XVIIth century, because of clearing for agriculture and urbanization. Compared to those lowland and costal habitats, habitats of the mountainous center of the island, much less densely occupied, have been historically much more preserved from human impact.

Coloraie du Volcan Forest MBR main objectives are : fight against various threats (land encroachment, species removal), régulation of human activities (tourism, vanilla cultivation), fight against invasive exotic species.

NATURAL VALUES: habitats and their conservation status
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Effective protection of native habitats Effective managment of native habitats : Development and implementation of a program of control and restoration actions in priority areas defined to ensure habitat conservation. Control of exotic species and increase biodiversity in anthropic habitats and degraded habitats with human integration (Vanilla producters) Effective study and survey of habitats
RBD "bois de couleurs des bas" Maintaining surface and preservation of low altitude Tropical rain forest and associated lava flows in RBD : 100% surface : OPTIMAL From 90 to 99% : ACCEPTABLE < 90% : UNDESIRABLE Control of exotic invasive and restoration in priority area (80 ha : Tropical rain forest in good state of conservation) 0 to 25 % surface of priority habitats : UNDESIRABLE 25 to 50% : ACCEPTABLE From 50% to 75% : DESIRABLE > 75% : OPTIMAL Control exotic and increase biodiversity in anthropic and degraded habitats (120 ha in periphery of prioirity area) wih help of vanilla producters : 0 to 10 % : UNDESIRABLE 10 to 25 % : ACCEPTABLE From 25 to 40 %: DESIRABLE > 40 % : OPTIMAL ? (need study before) Mapping with precision all the habitats et caracterising each of them by study 100% of habitats is well kown and mapped : OPTIMAL From 70 to 100 % : ACCEPTABLE < 70 % : UNDESIRABLE RBD "littoral de Saint-Philippe" Maintaining surface and preservation of littoral habitats in RBD : 100% surface : OPTIMAL From 90 to 99% : ACCEPTABLE < 90% : UNDESIRABLE Control of exotic invasive and restoration in priority area (39 ha : littoral vegetation in good state of conservation) 0 to 25 % surface of priority habitats : UNDESIRABLE 25 to 50% : ACCEPTABLE From 50% to 75% : DESIRABLE > 75% : OPTIMAL Control exotic and increase biodiversity in anthropic and degraded habitats (21 ha in periphery of prioirity area) wih help of vanilla producters : 0 to 10 % : UNDESIRABLE 10 to 25 % : ACCEPTABLE From 25 to 40 %: DESIRABLE > 40 % : OPTIMAL ? (need study before) Mapping with precision all the habitats and caracterising each of them by specific study 100% of habitats is well kown and mapped : OPTIMAL From 70 to 100 % : ACCEPTABLE < 70 % : UNDESIRABLE
RBD bois de couleurs : OPTIMAL 100 % of surface of native Tropical Rain Forest (168 ha) and lava flows habitats (28 ha) RBD littoral de St Philippe : OPTIMAL 100 % of surface of native littoral vegetation (40 ha) RBD bois de couleurs : DESIRABLE (58 %) 47 ha wih restoration and exotic control (with european funds) RBD littoral St Philippe : DESIRABLE (63 %) 23,5 ha wih restoration and exotic control (with european founds) RBD bois de couleurs : DESIRABLE (27,5 %) 33 ha with Vanilla producters control exotic species and contribute native species conservation RBD littoral St Philippe : DESIRABLE (63 %) 7 ha with Vanilla producters control exotic species and contribute native species conservation 100 % of habitats are well mapped and caracterised : OPTIMAL
The limits are clearly materialized and respected, with regular control. The amicable demarcation provided for in the RBd coastal management plan was achieved on a small disputed portion: it made it possible to establish a clear and consensual limit. Natural habitats are well preserved, with preservation of all native species Control, restoration and reconstitution operation report: 1.4 million euros of ecological restoration and reconstitution operations carried out from 2012 to 2019 in the two RBd (detailed report on Compass) Vanilla producters control exotic species with efficience in periphery of priority area in term of conservation. They are responsible for conservation of native species in their plot. In 2021, we implement a projet to increase the role of vanilla producters for the conservation of biodiversity since 2007. Mapping whith GPS and photointerpretation of 100 % surface of two RBD (1:5000°). Lot of transects studies and studies of natural habitats' diversity
NATURAL VALUES: Species monitoring (endemic, indigenous, exotic)
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Conservation of native and endemic species, including the most rarefied species (benefits from specific action). Mapping of rare species using GPS surveys; Effective protection of Seabird colony Mapping of the distribution of all plants species in a virtual mesh network (for monitoring) Effective survey and rapid control of new exotic species Development of A methodology for potential indicator insect species monitoring for climate change monitoring (at each management plan revision)
RBD "bois de couleurs des bas" Conservation of native species in RBD : 100% surface : OPTIMAL From 90 to 99% : ACCEPTABLE < 90% : UNDESIRABLE - yes : OPTIMAL no : UNDESIRABLE With procedure of early detection, elimination of 100% new species : OPTIMAL From 90 to 99% : ACCEPTABLE < 90% : UNDESIRABLE yes : OPTIMAL no : UNDESIRABLE RBD "littoral de Saint-Philippe" Conservation of native species in RBD : 100% surface : OPTIMAL From 90 to 99% : ACCEPTABLE < 90% : UNDESIRABLE Decline of individuals in Seabird colony : UNDESIRABLE Stability in number of individuals : DESIRABLE Increase : OPTIMAL yes : OPTIMAL With procedure of early detection, elimination of 100% new species : OPTIMAL From 90 to 99% : ACCEPTABLE < 90% : UNDESIRABLE yes : OPTIMAL
100 % of native species is conserved in two RBD : OPTIMAL Stability in number of individuals : DESIRABLE (need more detailed survey to proove inecrease) yes : OPTIMAL 90 % of new exotic species have been eliminated with early détection and rapid action ACCEPTABLE yes : OPTIMAL
More than 20 threatened species, according to IUCN red list criteria, have seen numbers increased thanks to control or reinforcement operations. All the 68 threatened species in the two RBD are well known and protected. Seabird colony number seems stable with numerous reproductions observed every year. More detailed monitoring will be entrusted to ornithological experts in 2021. Project of education of population to increase protection of this colony This operation will evaluate efficiency of indigenous species conservation for next management document. On the long term, it would be very useful to monitor climate change effects. This general inventory will priorize management actions. This action is made possible with help of BEST funds 20 new exotic species have been early elimined between 2000 and 2020 Insect studies with help of BEST funds (Europe)
ECOSYSTEM SERVICE VALUES
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Study of the ecosystem services provided by the two RBds (preservation of water resources, protection against natural risks, including sea spray (coast) Role preservation water resources MOVE ON (CE) research program in progress
To be specified by MOVE ON study
Role preservation water resources Important role of protection against sea spray (RBd littoral)
The trends will be observable in the medium term.
Ecotourism development role more than 70 cottages, restaurants, table d'hôtes near the 2 RBd MOVE ON (CE) research program in progress
To be specified by MOVE ON study
more than 70 cottages, restaurants, table d'hôtes near the 2 RBd MOVE ON (CE) research program in progress The discovery of the natural resources of the two protected areas is possible thanks to the equipped paths
Capital role for ecotourism economic development, in this commune of saint philippe affected by very high unemployment rate
CULTURAL VALUES
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Integration of Vanilla producters in the conservation objectives of the reserve in secondary areas (ecological corridor) Training of flora and ecology dealers Monitoring of concessions by field agents; Regular monitoring to note any breach of the specifications
Strict compliance with the specifications and authorized limits set
> 20 direct jobs
The integration of farmers is successful (already historic partnership): they understand the issues in the two RBds and participate effectively in conservation objectives. control of invasives in anthropized areas peripheral to natural habitats in good state of conservation), while continuing their production of high quality and organic vanilla.

Conservation Summary

Outcome of EAGL Vote on Site
Consensus

EAGL Summary 
Pillar 1: Fair Governance The creation of these two biological reserves was investigated in the 2000s and received favorable opinion from the Regional Scientific Council for Natural Heritage and the National Nature Protection Council. Both ministerial decrees have been signed on 19th June 2020 However. This has not prevented these two biological reserves from operating on the basis of their management plans since 2013. The prefecture of La Reunion and the municipality of Saint-Philippe, on which these two biological reserves are located, fully support these two protected areas whose actions have been known for ten years now. The expression of opinions and management guidelines are discussed and decided in the Advisory Committee of Forest Adjustments of Biological Reserves, a body bringing together environmental associations, administrations, communities and socio-professionals concerned with the management of these areas. The consultation is considered satisfactory for most stakeholders, the sharing and planning tools are detailed and effective, their dissemination is efficient. The EAGL considers that the Coloraie du Volcan Forest Managed Biological Reserves have achieved all the standards of Pillar 1 of the Green List.

Pillar 2: Robust Planning Despite the absence of regulatory formality regarding the existence of these two protected areas, their management and planning is fully effective as long as their management plans are developed and implemented, as it has been the case since 2013. The threats have been taken into account and mainly concern the management of invasive alien species. Vanilla cultivation is a traditional activity that persists in each of the two biological reserves. The RBD management plan takes into account the social and economic context and its evolution in Chapters 2 and 3. The example of the production of vanilla and the organization of the sector illustrate this and probably represent a factor of ownership of the stakes of the RBD. These RBDs have been designed to be part of a biogeographical continuity to complement the existing network of protected areas (other RBD, National Park). Modelling of the effects of climate change on sites will be studied as the two management plans are renewed (2022). The EAGL considers that the Coloraie of the Volcano Forest Managed Biological Reserves have achieved all the standards of Pillar 2 of the Green List.

Pillar 3: Effective Management From a strategic point of view, in the RBD of Forêt de Couleur des Bas, priority has been given to areas still in very good state of conservation, where invasive species control actions are most efficient. In the Littoral de Saint-Philippe RBD, the supralittoral zone, home to almost all coastal endemic species, is a priority for action over the much more transformed adlitttoral zone. Finally, in the areas most invaded by allochthon species, the wish was to rely on vanilla dealers, who are management assistants in the most degraded areas. The social and economic context has been integrated into the management of the site, through vanilla production and the rational development of tourism. The management of ecological conditions is not complete, so the assessment of the effects of ecological changes is difficult to grasp without precise methodology. A global reflection is undertaken and in the next management plan a solution will be provided, for the time being the evolution of follow-ups, inventories, observations (fauna-flora) is used as an indicator. The sanction regime will be made effective by the signing of the creation orders. The EAGL considers that the Coloraie du Volcan Forest Managed Biological Reserves have achieved all the standards of Pillar 3 of the Green List.

Pillar 4: Successful Conservation With regard to the preservation of ecosystem services, the Littoral de Saint-Philippe RBD, in addition to its recreational role (hiking through the landscaped trails) has a clear role in mitigating the impacts associated with sprays during strong swells. It effectively protects crops and homes. As for the RBD of the Forest of the Colors of the Lows, it plays a role in regulating water runoff and preserves damage, in particular, from heavy rains during cyclones. The cultural values associated with the two RBDs are very modest qualitatively and quantitatively, in relation to their great naturalness. The cultivation of Vanilla, practiced for more than 150 years in Saint-Philippe, is of cultural importance. The conservation of natural values needs to be better assessed through the implementation of appropriate monitoring and indicators. This is planned for the next management plan. Current follow-ups, however, show that the main natural values of the sites are maintained The EAGL considers that the Coloraie du Volcan Forest Managed Biological Reserves have achieved all the standards of Pillar 4 of the Green List.

Decision Following the review of the application of the Coloraie du Volcan Forest Managed Biological Reserves, the EAGL welcomed the remarkable efforts of the team of managers for the conservation of the values of the site and underlined the quality and completeness of the file. On the basis of these elements, the EAGL voted unanimously in favour of the inscription of Coloraie du Volcan Forest Managed Biological Reserves on the protected areas green list. The sites’s visit report is available on another platform for the reviewer and Committee anytime.

Reviewer Summary
The Reviewer confirms that overall, the process was conducted in line with the User Manual’s rules and procedures. The site visit took place on the 24th of February but the site visit schedule was not approved by the Reviewer as it was not submitted to the Reviewer prior to the site visit. During the EAGL discussion on the site, the Reviewer reminded the EAGL that the site visit schedule must be sent to the Reviewer prior to the visit, which was not the case for this site. Given that the overall process complies with the other rules and procedures of the User Manual and that the site visit schedule (uploaded after the visit) included all needed information, the Reviewer does not consider it relevant and fair for the site to block the Green Listing process for a procedural defect caused by the EAGL. The Reviewer asks the EAGL to upload the site visit report onto COMPASS or to share it with the GL Committee if for confidentiality reasons, the report should not be posted. The EAGL discussion on the site took place on March 3 in the presence of the Implementing partner, the site manager and the mentor. The Reviewer attended remotely. As for all candidate sites, the Implementing partner (IUCN France) on behalf of the French EAGL invited the site manager and mentor who were given time to present the site and answer any open questions from the EAGL. The presentation was then followed by the presentation of the site visit report and by a deliberation (not in the presence of the site manager) on the site. All documents, including the site visit report were shared with the EAGL members and the Reviewer before the meeting. The outcome of the deliberation was that the site would be nominated only once the RBD (Réserve biologique dirigée) status of the Reserves would be made official, a process that was pending the signature of a ministerial decree. This condition was fulfilled on June 19 and subsequently, the EAGL finalised the nomination process of the candidate site and submitted the candidate to the Reviewer on June 22. All related documents and information is recorded in COMPASS (except for the site visit report). The Reviewer validates the process observing that the EAGL also reported in the summary of their decision that the Reserves’ next management plans will need to include some actions, including on the “modelling of the effects of climate change on the sites”. To allow an easier follow-up process, the Reviewer recommends to clearly highlight the points to be reassessed in 2022 during the mid-term review, should the site be Green listed.

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