A patchwork of natural environments
Luxurious forests sheltering wild orchids, lunar peaks, coral reefs teeming with life... In spite of human activity, 30% of the natural environments on Réunion are still exactly the same as they were when the island was uninhabited! To protect this heritage, a natural park and marine reserve have been established.
Born from underwater volcanic activity, Réunion was never attached to a continent. Life has flourished here in a very different manner, depending on altitude and varying levels of rainfall.
- The savannah and dry forest: on the west coast, a sandy-coloured grassy expanse with thorny scrub;
- The semi-evergreen forest: remains subsist on the slopes incised by ravines on the leeward coast, sheltering a wide array of rare, protected species;
- The Forêt de bois de couleur des Bas: in the wild south and on the mid-slope areas in the east, this forest offers an extraordinary diversity of plants (over 40 tree species, some of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world). Orchids, mosses and ferns add to the magic;
- The Forêt de bois de couleur des Hauts: all around the island, this "forest of mists" boasts lush vegetation with its tall trees covered in lichen, moss and numerous epiphytic plants;
- La forest of tamarinds in Les Hauts: this is unique to Réunion. It stretches over the plains where the tamarinds have been gnarled and twisted by the cyclonic winds;
- The peaks: above 1,700m altitude, the moors and heaths give way to a more mineral landscape the closer we get to the higher peaks.
All these vegetation types can be found in the Sensitive Natural Areas managed by Réunion General Council in partnership with the communities, federations of communities, the State and relevant stakeholders.