Seychelles’ islands possess exceptional beauty and unique biodiversity. The islands are a repository of over 80 endemic species of flowering plants, 10 endemic species of ferns and 62 endemic species of bryophytes. The coral islands are characterized by mixed scrub vegetation and have 15 known floral endemic species.
Seychelles boasts 1690 Km2 of coral reef cover—more than its total land area—and has an estimated 174 species of coral. Most of these coral reefs are found in the outer islands and have yet to be fully explored.
There are seven species of Mangroves covering about 2,900 ha. They occur mainly on the four larger granitic islands, i.e. Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette and La Digue. More extensive mangrove forests occur in the Aldabra and Cosmoledo Atolls, with Aldabra alone having about two thirds of the combined mangrove area of the Seychelles. Mangrove cover has remained stable. The designation of areas containing mangroves as Ramsar Sites, e.g. Port Launay, has contributed to mangrove protection in the WIO region.
Seychelles is endowed with nine seagrass species, the total area of which is unknown, though Cymodocea serrulata, S. isoetifolium and T. hemprichii are generally dominant. In 1995, Seychelles had the deepest seagrass stands in the WIO, as T. ciliatum was observed at 33 metres underwater.
Ring shaped islands (atolls) found in the Seychelles include Aldabra, Cosmoledo, Farquhar and Alphonse.
The 2015 Regional State of Coast reports that there are encouraging signs of recovery in most marine turtles in Seychelles. Fishing hawksbill turtles for their shells has a long history in the Seychelles and has been a significant income earner for local people. Seychelles provides extensive nesting sites and foraging habitat for hawksbills, with significant increases in nesting activity on Cousin Island.
The Seychelles archipelago is also known for the coco-de-mer, found only on two islands in Seychelles (Praslin and Curieuse) and the black parrot, which is also the country’s national bird.