Status and Trends of Biodiversity
The Seychelles is an archipelago consisting of 115 granite and coral islands that occupy a land area of some 445 sq. km in the South Western Indian Ocean. Today, most of Seychelles lies beneath sea level at an average depth of 55m, often referred to as the Seychelles Bank or Mahé Plateau. There is a correlation between the number of endemic plant species and the ages of the islands where they occur. The very old granitic islands are estimated to have 80 species of endemic flowering plants out of some 900 total, whereas some of the other coral islands have only 33 endemics out of 260 species. The only native freshwater fish in the Seychelles is Pancypanchax plaifari, an endemic species distinct from sister species in Madagascar. An estimated 1,000 marine fish species occur with only 1-2% endemics including the Seychelles clown fish and the bamboo shark. Seychelles has a unique blend of land birds from Africa, Asia and Madagascar, which have evolved into unique species and subspecies. There are 13 species and 17 subspecies of endemic birds. Surviving bird populations include 8 Globally Threatened Species, with some of the most endangered land birds in the world including: the Seychelles scops owl, the black paradise flycatcher and the magpie robin. The only indigenous land mammals are bats (5 species with 2 endemics), although various other land mammals have been introduced. The Sheath-tailed bat is highly endangered. There are also 21 species of marine mammals. Some threats to Seychelles’ biodiversity include: introduced species; habitat destruction/loss; anthropogenic activities (e.g. fishing, hunting, timber exploitation); pollution; siltation and disease.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
Conservation areas cover 47% of the total surface area comprising 19,760ha of protected terrestrial areas and 23,000ha of protected reef and marine areas.
Percentage of Forest Cover
It is estimated that the total forest cover of Mahé, Praslin, Curieuse, La Digue and Silhouette islands is about 78% of their land area. The other islands of Seychelles are estimated to have an additional 23,000ha of forest and bush vegetation.