Mauritius: Environment - Replacement of Casuarinas Trees to Curb Coastal Erosion

press release

The Ministry of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, within its policy to combat coastal erosion along public beaches, will be replacing casuarina trees, commonly known as filao, by endemic ones on the public beach of Flic-in-Flac, Le Morne and Belle Mare. The project will start in Flic-en-Flac in March 2020.

An initiative of the Ministry in collaboration with the Forestry Service, the project has as objectives the following: to remove the casuarinas from the dynamic zone, or within the first 30 meters (m) of the high tide line; replant the area from the high tide line up to 15 m with endemic grasses and shrubs; and replant the area, 15 to 30 m, with endemic trees. The project will last for a period of two years with proper monitoring.

Trees such as the veloutiers vert, argent veloutiers, and Ste Marie will be planted. The project will comprise an irrigation system and an area of 200 m will be fenced and accordingly treated annually. Access from the parking area to the beaches will be maintained for every 50 m. Also, similar projects will be carried out on other public beaches.

Following observations made after cyclones and tidal waves, it was found that waves penetrate inland for about 20 to 30 m from the high tide line and this area is commonly known as the dynamic zone. The casuarina trees with their hard trunks and roots tend to wash away the sand during bad weather and therefore are not suitable on beaches, especially in the dynamic zone.

These observations were made in Mauritius as well as on the island of the Bahamas. Following the recommendations of Canadian experts, Baird and Associates, in 2003, the casuarina trees were removed from the dynamic zone on the public beaches of Belle Mare and Flic-en-Flac over an area of 1 kilometre and 450 m respectively. It has been observed thereon that the situation has stabilised and the beach erosion has been minimised.

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