Elimination of Invasive Acacia Nilotica “Piquant Loulou” and Replacement By Other More Useful Plants
Elimination of Invasive Acacia Nilotica “Piquant Loulou” and Replacement By Other More Useful Plants
Project Summary

Acacia nilotica was introduced in 1975 in Rodrigues and was planted in about 25 localities of the island and in less than 10 years time after its introduction it was widespread in more than 25 new localities. Invasion is mostly through faeces of grazing animals being given there is an extensive grazing system on the island.

Actually about 20% of the total forest cover is composed of Acacia nilotica and following this trend it will cover more than 50% of the island’s forest cover within 10 years time. Acacia nilotica not only affects mountain tops, but also fenced sylvo-pastoral areas preventing farmers from harvesting fodder, but has also started to spread throughout the urban region and in regions where there is a high population density like Terre Rouge, English Bay, Pointe L’herbe, Creve Coeur, Fond Camp Du Roi, Mt Charlot, Mt Fanal, Fond la Digue, etc. It is becoming a direct threat to the island’s vegetation and a nuisance to the local population.






















Figure 1: Acacia Nilotica ‘forests’ in Rodrigues

Reports have been written on the management and possibility of eradication of the Acacia Nilotica by Forestry Technicians since the year 1998, but have not yet been put into practice due to some constraints such as labour force and limited finance. In fact, several techniques of control have been proposed in reports since the year 1998 and one of the most feasible techniques which may be used is the Ring barking method where the plant dies standing, as proposed by the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation. The Forestry Services has recently tested this method for its eradication and has proved to work efficiently. The ring barking method was used on a pilot project at Mt Plate over an area of 5 hectares in the year 2013.The reaforestation exercise with the planting of 10 000 native and endemic trees by the local community has already started in this region since the end of March 2014.

Using the result obtained at Mt Plate, the aim of this particular project is to apply the same technique to the remaining localities affected by the invasion of Acacia nilotica and rehabilitate the area immediately by replanting of useful plants, especially, native and endemic plants which is the Government policy for restoration of forest biodiversity.

In this particular project, the Ring barking technique will be carried out in 2 localities namely: Roche Bon Dieu and part of Riviere Banane over a total area of 20 hectares.

The table below shows all area affected by Acacia nilotica over the whole island of Rodrigues.

APPROXIMATE AREAS AFFECTED BY ACACIA NILOTICA

Serial no. State land Area invaded in ha
1 Acacia 3
2 Anse Quitor 10
3 JeanTac 10
4 Baie du Nord 6
5 Baie lascar 1
6 Baie Malgache 30
7 Baladirou 20
8 Batatran 5
9 Camp Du Roi 10
10 Camp Pintade 10
11 Cascade Jean Louis 5
12 Caverne Provert 5
13 Cite Patate 3
14 Corail 3
15 Creve Coeur 3
16 Diamant 10
17 Eau verte 15
18 Fond La Bonte 6
19 Fond La Digue 5
20 Grand Baie 3
21 Grand la Fouche Mangues 3
22 Grand var 10
23 Graviers 17
24 Ile Michel 3
25 Manique 3
26 Marechal 2
28 Morico 5
29 Mt cabris ( Est) 25
30 Mt cabris ( West) 4
31 Mt Charlot 5
32 Mt Du Sables 10
33 Mt fanal 7
34 Mt goyaves 10
35 M topaz 9
36 Mt Plate 10
37 La boucherie 10
38 Caverne 3
39 Cascade St louis 15
40 Jardin mamzelle 5
41 Mt Cherie 10
42 Mt Tonnerre 10
43 Oyster Bay 3
44 Patate Theophile 3
45 Petite Butte 2
46 Plaine Coco 5
47 Pte l’Herbe 10
48 Quatre Vents 5
49 R.Banane 16
50 Roche Bon Dieu 15
51 Terre Rouge 7
52 R.Coco 0.1
Total 405.1


Table 1: Approximate areas affected by Acacia nilotica over the whole island of Rodrigues (Source: Forestry Services)


This project shall be carried out in joint collaboration between the Forest Services of the Commission for Environment & Ors and an NGO which has been involved in Youth and Environment activities, the Athletic Trail Nature Club.

In fact, the process to be used during this project will be the use of simple mechanical means whereby no chemical products would be used. During the implementation of this project, trees will be ring barked by workers/members from the NGO, from ground level to about 75 cm up the trunk. During such process, no herbicides will be applied on the ring barked area and the trees will be left to die standing.

New seedlings of endemic trees, which would have been previously prepared by the Forestry Services’ nurseries or by the local communities, will be planted in the area where the trees have been ring-barked by the NGO. At least one weeding of the growing seedlings will have to be effected every year to allow growth and development of the newly planted seedlings. The implementation of the whole project will be supervised by officers from the Forestry Services. This exercise will be educative as it will allow the NGO to participate in the process of forest biodiversity restoration


1.2 Organizational Background and Capacity to implement the project
Athletic Trail Nature Club is an NGO consisting of 12 members situated at Mt Lubin and which is chaired by Mr Ivan Cliff Rose. The objective and mission of this association is to work towards the promotion of sports activities and protecting the environment in Rodrigues while also contributing for the betterment of the society.



Composition of Athletic Trail Nature club


Responsible parties of the NGO


Title

Name / Occupation

Contact No.


President
ROSE Jean Ivancliff/ Photographer 59174856

Vice-president
ROSE Abraham Arayeman Naranata/ Supervisor in the Hotel Sector 57223751

Treasurer
ROSE Louis Ezekel/ secondary school Educator 54934909

Ass. Treasurer
JEAN Clydes/ Accountant Phoenix Beverages 58752878

Secretary
BEGUE Marie Williana/ Deputy Manager Phoenix beverages 58753193

Ass. Secretary
LISETTE Marie Michelle/ Planter (+230)8310334







Organigram of the Association


1.2.1 Core Activities of the Cooperative
Activities of the Athletic Trail Nature Club

The objective and mission of this association is to work towards the promotion of sports activities and protecting the environment in Rodrigues while also contributing for the betterment of the society.
In fact, given that most employment in Rodrigues are directly connected with the environment (since most persons are involved in farming, rearing and fishing activities), supporting the preservation of the environment so as to contribute towards employment creation has become a goal set by the NGO. In this context, they have been involved into several activities organised by the Commission for Environment particularly during the different octopus fishery closure periods whereby they were involved in different reaforestation activities.
The association started its activities in the year 2013 with four sessions of ‘Strado Fighter’ (an activity created by the association in year 2012, comprising of a group of 5 persons (both men and women) in charge for creating trails); two sessions of ‘eco-rando’ (ecological hiking/trekking) and five cleaning sessions in different areas of the island. The association has been involved in providing support to the fishermen in cleaning the environment during the temporary closure of seasonal octopus fishing. Moreover, another activity carried out during the same closure campaign was assisting the Commission for Environment in planting endemic plants at Montagne Limon within the framework of the temporary Octopus Fishery Closure project.
1.2.2 Technical Support to beneficiaries

The Association has also organised many sensitisation campaigns in regards to the protection of the environment and for maintaining good health among the population. It has on several occasions collaborated with the Commission for Environment on environment-related projects such as cleaning and re-aforestation campaigns and still continues this collaboration for various ‘green’ projects.

However, the members of the association are not experienced in forest biodiversity conservation projects more particularly on the process of ring-barking which necessitates some particular technical knowledge on how to apply the technique. Therefore, the Commission for Environment will give technical support in terms of training to the members of Association to empower them for the successful implementation of the project

So, training which will be given by the Forestry Services will consist of (i) providing the technique for ring-barking of Acacia nilotica trees, (ii) the handling of tools for this exercise as well as (ii) planting technique such as handling of seedlings to prevent them from damage. In addition, in order to ensure the successful reaforestation in the two selected regions, the members of the Association will also be trained on which type of native and endemic plants that should be planted in each zone in line with the specific topography and climate condition prevailing in each.


1.2 Project Objectives and Expected Results
1.3.1 Problem Statement
Acacia nilotica was introduced in 1975 in Rodrigues and was initially planted in about 25 localities of the island. However, in less than 10 years’ time after its introduction, it was widespread in more than 25 new localities around the island. The main cause of this invasion is that it is being spread through animals’ excreted faeces after having eaten the large amount of seeds the tree produces.

In fact, the main threat of this type of tree is that it produces a huge quantity of seeds which is consumed by grazing and other animals. Thus, its speed of spread in other regions is increased. Furthermore, the acacia nilotica has dangerous thorns which cause harm to herders. Since this tree goes particularly fast and rapidly spreads on a given area, this causes nuisance to the farmers’ community as well because this decreases the area of land available for farming practices and also the trees’ horns may harm the farmers themselves. Therefore, given that less land is available for cultivation, this directly causes a decrease in the revenue of those involved in agricultural activities.

Moreover, actually about 20% of the total forest cover is composed of Acacia nilotica and following this trend, it will cover more than 50% of the island’s forest cover within 10 years time. Acacia nilotica not only affects mountain tops, but also fenced agro sylvo-pastoral areas preventing farmers from harvesting fodder and from cultivating available land. Furthermore, it has also started to spread throughout the urban region and in regions where there is a high population density like Terre Rouge, English Bay, Pointe L’herbe, Creve Coeur, Fond Camp Du Roi, Mt Charlot, Mt Fanal, Fond la Digue, etc. It is becoming a direct threat to the island’s vegetation and a nuisance to the local population.

1.3.2 Primary objective of the Project

The main aim of the project is to fully eradicate acacia nilotica in the eastern region of the island particularly at Roche Bon Dieu and Rivière Banane and thereby restoring the forest biodiversity by replacing invasive alien plant species with more useful plants such as native and endemic plants.
1.3.3 Specific Objectives

More precisely, the project will help to achieve the following objectives:
- To eradicate invasive alien plant species Acacia nilotica over a total area of 20 hectares
- To replant the area with 32,000 useful plants
- Provide more land for farming, thereby creating employment and increasing farmers’ revenue
- To diminish and prevent the invasiveness of the species
- To be used as a pilot project that will be replicated in other regions where acacia nilotica is becoming a serious threat
- To create education and sensitization awareness on the risks of invasive species and advantages of planting endemic plants

 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Athletic Trail Nature Club
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 14,863.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 14,863.00
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP5/YR3/STAR/BD/14/08
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Gender Focus
In order to favour gender mainstreaming and to prevent gender inequality, both women and men are being involved in the project. However, more women than men are willing to embark on such a project. In addition, this project will contribute to the emancipation of women in the region of Roche Bon Dieu and Riviere Banane. The people involved in the project will receive an income from the activities and the revenue will considerably contribute in the improvement of their overall standard of living and economic welfare of their families. It is worth mentioning that given the invasive character of the species, the extent of available land for agricultural activities in these two selected regions is constantly decreasing. Thus, given that the acacia nilotica forests make it rather impossible for farmers to cut fodder for their animals and even prevent animals from grazing on unoccupied land, most animals tend to graze in individual plantations thereby causing severe damages to the cultivations of the inhabitants of the region. Moreover, this problem of grazing animals often leads to unresolved conflicts within the community. Given the limited area of land available for farming as well as the damage caused to the plantations, this causes decrease in the revenue of the planters and farmers of the region. Thus, with this project, several persons of the community will temporarily be employed but given that this will help to eliminate the species, more land will be available for a greater number of persons, mostly women, to get involved in agricultural activities.
Notable Community Participation
The stakeholders have been involved in the different activities within their club and they have the ability to work together. Prior to the elaboration of the project document, the association has had various meetings with the Association Des eleveurs de Roche Bon Dieu Roche bon Dieu and Association Des Agriculteurs de Riviere Banane so as to explain the objective of the project. Such meetings will still be held with the community before the project starts as well as during the whole implementation process. In addition, the local people will be recruited by the association for the elimination of the Acacia nilotica as well as the planting of other useful trees for their replacement. Training will be delivered by the Forestry Services in ring barking and planting techniques as well as for the follow up of the growing seedlings so as to ensure that the community and association have a good knowledge and handling of the techniques required. Furthermore to ensure that the local community fully develops a sense of ownership of the project, together with the members of the association, they will also be trained on the monitoring techniques with regards to the plants’ growth. Therefore, the monitoring will be done by the Association and local community in collaboration with the Forest Services.
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Indicators
Biophysical
Hectares of globally significant biodiversity area protected or sustainably managed by project 20

Partnership

Commission of Environment & Others

Grantee Contact

Mr Ivan Cliff Rose
Phone: 59174856
Email: roseivan@hotmail.co.uk
 

Address

c/o Rod Protected Area,
Mont Lubin, Rodrigues ,

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
Phone:
(230) 213 53 84
Fax:
(230) 212 14 11
Email:

Address

2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
Port Louis, Mauritius

Country Website