Physical Alteration and Destruction of Habitats in Seychelles

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A UNEP/GPA meeting in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Nairobi Convention and Governments in the region agreed on three main priority areas: Coastal tourism; Mangrove Destruction; and Ports and Land reclamation to address problems through the development of projects associated with those activities. The report at the request of UNEP is to review adequacy of national legislation and institutional arrangements; assesses the socio-economic importance of the three main priority activities; and present case studies on ecosystem restoration initiatives in the country.

The lowland or coastal vegetation has been severely modified by human activities at various stages in the history of the Seychelles, especially Mahe. Almost all species originally described still survive, but several are now found only at higher altitudes. There are still a considerable number of sites where small remnants of lowland palm forest exist or where there is good regeneration of lowland palm species under a cover of exotic trees. In the last 25 years the modification and loss of coastal ecosystems on the main granitic islands has accelerated as a result of rapid social and economic development. Consequently, the major threats to endemic species and vegetation on the main granitic islands are related to the rapid rate of development, which has led to the conversion of land for infrastructure, such as housing, roads, commercial and tourism. Habitat loss, including coastal wetlands, as a result of housing and tourism development is a major factor, particularly in the main granitic islands. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries these habitats were gradually removed for agricultural purposes and now for tourism and housing. The pressures on these ecosystems have been further intensified by deforestation and construction on hillsides as the demand for land has increased. Reclamation activities have also increased significantly over the last 30 years to meet demands for land for development.

Coastal tourism: There is not one piece of legislation which governs coastal tourism in its entirety or its specificity. The only piece of legislation that makes specific mention of tourism and its related activities is the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations. However, in this case the conditions for the development are prescribed in the EIA report which is not always a legally binding document, as parties do enter into negotiations and often alternations to approved plans


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