Reunion Island National Park is the island's geographic centre, covering more than 100,000 hectares, that is 42% of the island's total surface area. It is also the heart of its national land assets. Created in 2007, it has the task ofprotecting and promoting a unique heritage: numerous species of animals, insects and plants only exist in this region and cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. The park ensures the conservation of a delicate balance, in magnificent land that everyone should respect.
Thanks to the park, knowledge about the flora and fauna has developed, and it has also become more accessible to the public. Scientists study the exceptional biodiversity and the teams on the ground share their passion with the visitors, even though it is difficult to see endangered species. For example, two large marine birds: Barau's petrel and the Black petrel. Other indigenous species: the Reunion cuckooshrike, a bird in danger of extinction, the zoizo green glasses or zoizo green; the Marsh Maillard, the island's only bird of prey; the papilo phorbanta and salamis augustina butterflies, which are endangered; or the Reunion Island day gecko.
A diverse space with lush nature
As regard the park's flora, this varies depending on the altitude and the microclimates: 850 indigenous species have been counted. This seems a lot but in fact it's not, given that 2,000 species have been introduced by man during Reunion Island's history. These extraordinary plants, flowers and trees grow in rain or cloud forests, on moorland, in gorges and on astonishing reliefs, formed by the volcanic eruptions, erosion and lava flows. Or even as a result of volcanic vents collapsing, which created the spectacular Salazie, Mafate and Cilaos craters.
These three fascinating regions and their ramparts, as well as the two huge volcanoes of Piton de la Fournaise and Piton des Neiges have been part of UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites since 2010, due to their outstanding universal value. A formidable international recognition for the Reunion Island National Park, which represents a highly diverse space. It has an inhabited interior, since two populated areas can be found within its borders: the islets (isolated hamlets) of Mafate and that of Salazes (col du Taïbit, in Cilaos crater). Their inhabitants are the only permanent residents living right in the heart of the National Park: they constitute the very essence of Reunion Island, the cornerstone of creole culture and identity, imprinted by a traditional way of life and a strong relationship to the land.
Indeed the park has a cultivated interior, in the middle of untamed nature. This concerns livestock farming areas (Piton de l’Eau), crop and geranium production (Sans-Souci), cultivated forests and tea plantations (Plaine-des-Palmistes). Indeed, these agricultural activities were already there before the creation of the park and its charter enables them to blend seamlessly with the natural environments which surround them, ensuring a harmonious coexistence between man and his environment.