Mont Mauru (Tahiti, Society Islands) and Toovii Ridges (Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands), Two Natural Areas of Ecological Interest in French Polynesia, Proposed as PABITRA Sites

Jean-Yves Meyer1 & Jacques Florence2

Délégation à Recherche
Ministère de la Santé et de la Recherche (Gouvernement de Polynésie française)
Papeete, Tahiti (French Polynesia)

2Antenne IRD, Laboratoire de Phanérogamie
Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle
Paris (France)

The two high volcanic islands of Tahiti and Nuku Hiva have the most original and richest native flora of the 118 islands of French Polynesia. Tahiti, located in the Society archipelago, is the largest and the highest island in French Polynesia with ca. 1100 km2 and a summit reaching 2241 m elevation. It has the highest number of native (495 species) and endemic (224 including 107 island endemics) vascular plants, and several species belonging to the two South-eastern Polynesian endemic genera (Fitchia and Scierotheca); Nuku Hiva, located in the Marquesas is the second largest (ca. 340 kin2) and richest island in French Polynesia with a vascular flora of 254 native species, 126 of them endemic (including 46 island endemics), one monotypic endemic genus (Pelagodoxa) and species belonging to three other French Polynesian endemic genera (Apetahia, Oparanthus, Plakothira). Most of the endemic species and genera are confined to the nearly pristine montane wet forests (cloud forests and summit shrublands). In this paper we proposed to include Mont Mauru (Tahiti) and Toovii ridges (Nuku Hiva) as PABITRA sites for French Polynesia. Both natural areas are of high ecological interest and present a strong conservation value, but are threatened by man activities (mainly road construction on Toovii, hydro-electricity development on Mont Mauru), and invasion by alien plants. They are relatively accessible from sea-level up to the highest summit (1361 m for Mont Mauru, 1227 m for Toovii ridges). An ecological survey (flora and associated fauna) of Mont Mauru and its surroundings is in process by both authors and the site has been recently proposed as a protected natural area for Tahiti. A similar conservation project for Toovii ridges is planned.


Abstract from: XIX Pacific Science Congress, July 4-9, 1999, Sydney, Australia.

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Last Updated: 11/26/99