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Six young people from Reunion Island with very diverse backgrounds united by a common goal: to preserve the rich biodiversity of their island


This project brought together six young people from Reunion in the city of Possession for whom preservation of our natural heritage is a priority and want to give rise to other concrete commitments in the field. Indeed, the overseas territories are home to 80% of the French biodiversity. We have a great responsibility to preserve the biodiversity present on our island in the face of pressures linked to anthropic activities which are more and more prevalent.

Our field projects: acting on the ground and at sea to preserve biodiversity


The island’s biodiversity is very vulnerable to human actions: destruction and fragmentation of natural habitats, introduction of invasive exotic species, direct action of poaching or indirect action of certain uses (chemical, light, and plastic pollution, etc.). Thus, about 30% of vascular flora (about 275 species) and 22% of terrestrial vertebrate fauna are endangered. Therefore, the level of urgency is very high for the conservation of nature in Reunion, especially since many species have already disappeared (for example, 30% of endemic birds are extinct) and the primary ecosystems of the island represent more than 40% of the total surface. Since 2007, these primary ecosystems have benefited from the creation of the National Park of Reunion Island. Globally, coral reefs are under similar pressure and it was noted in 2009 that one third of the reef species were threatened and vulnerable. To improve their conservation status, part of the reefs of Reunion have been integrated into the Marine Nature Reserve of Reunion.


Faced with this alarming situation, protection, restoration, and awareness actions should be implemented. The two main current problems are, on the one hand, the replacement of endemic terrestrial species by invasive exotic species, strongly degrading the visual landscape, and, on the other hand, the lack of knowledge of certain species and ecosystems on the fragmented reef.

Thus, on their own scale, young people have decided to act to contribute to the restoration of certain ecosystems in a state of vulnerability and to increase awareness of the civil society’s knowledge of ecosystem and taxonomic diversity.

  • The land project


The Balthazar Ravine

The community of La Possession coordinated the project “Latania” which consists of restoring, for 2 years, the ecological status of a ravine degraded by invasive exotic species located in the middle of an urbanized area which is home to one of the last populations of the red Latanier. Known by the scientific name of latania lontaroides, this endemic palm tree of Reunion is in critical danger of extinction. This ravine constitutes a relic of dry forest, which is currently the ecosystem most threatened by disappearance on Reunion Island. In fact, less than 1% of this habitat remains on the entire island. The Latania project aims to fight against invasive exotic species on the surface of an area of 1.5 hectares, to reintroduce 30,000 plants native to Reunion Island in the dry forest, and raise public awareness about the preservation of the site.




The Balthazar Ravine                                          Young Lataniers of the Balthazar Ravine                                 


The Young Ambassadors of Reunion supported this project by mobilizing residents of the surrounding neighborhoods to preserve the site. We worked on the restoration zone of the Balthazar Ravine. For this, they mobilized residents of adjacent neighborhoods of the ravine by means of an information campaign at neighborhood schools by hanging posters and the distribution of flyers.

  • Our objectives were to:

  • Contribute the restoration of the Balthazar Ravine at the sides of citizens

  • Contribute to the reintroduction of endemic species in the area

  • To increase the awareness of the inhabitants regarding impacts of their activities and of the entropic activities on the local ecosystem

  • To increase the knowledge of the inhabitants regarding vulnerable endemic species that surround them and their value to the ecosystem.

  • The marine project


The fragmented reefs of Reunion

The fragmented reefs of Reunion extend on a coastline 25 km west and south of the island. They houses a large diversity of species, including several species of coral and sea cucumbers and a species of phanerogam that structures the seagrass beds. The fragmented reef of Reunion is under several anthropic pressures (sewage disposal, physical deterioration, plastic pollution, etc.) and natural pressures (hurricanes, swells) that weaken its state of health (loss of biodiversity, etc.). For example, the coral strength has deteriorated and the surface area of seagrass bed has diminished over the years. On the contrary, sea cucumbers, less known marine organisms, form large areas of individual concentrations.


  Photo of sea cucumbers taken during the aquatic hike            Photo of seagrass taken during the aquatic hike

The Young Ambassadors for the Environment in Reunion Island propose to bring awareness to different actors (sea users, locals, tourists, and students) of the importance of coral, seagrass, and sea cucumbers. They were keen to raise awareness about the fragility of the species and habitats present in the coral reef by learning eco-responsible behavior with the general public of the community of La Possession and the community of Saint Paul (Bourg de Dos d’Ane and the different islets located in the Cirque de Mafate that can only be accessed by foot).


Our objectives were to:

  • Organize an aquatic hike: hour-long aquatic hikes to discover the broken reefs of Reunion north of l'Hermitage.

  • Organize information workshops on the beach: awareness of corals, seagrass, and sea cucumbers and thus of good, eco-responsible practices during beach outings (north and south of l'Hermitage, La Saline).

Beyond the land project: participation at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature World Nature Congress in September 2021 in Marseille


The Congress’ Generation Nature Spaces, a space open to the public, was a special time for the Young Ambassadors. This was an opportunity to teach the initiatives of the Young Ambassadors to the general public and to give the floor to young people wishing to commit themselves concretely to the preservation of local biodiversity, and to promote the actions of students in the region, and young people in the French overseas territories committed to the preservation of local ecosystems.


In this setting, the young people made a 4 minute and 30 second film that was sent during the Young Ambassadors conference. This film recounts their commitment to the biodiversity of their island and their initiatives in favor of the restoration of the Balthazar Ravine as well as their work to raise public awareness about the preservation of sea cucumbers.

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