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Tropical Island Recovery. Cousine Island, Seychelles

  • ID: 2177183
  • Book
  • April 2010
  • Region: Seychelles
  • 260 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Tropical islands around the world are losing much of their biodiversity. Cousine Island, Seychelles, is a remarkable example of recovery which runs countercurrent to this trend of tropical island impoverishment. From a highly degraded island in the 1960s, Cousine Island is now a revitalized carpet of natural vegetation and a haven for nesting seabirds. All alien vertebrates have been eradicated, as have most of the invasive alien plants. Poaching of nesting marine turtles and shearwaters has stopped, leading to an increase in breeding numbers. The Sooty tern has returned to the Island to breed after an absence of 30 years. The coastal plain has been restored with indigenous trees, bringing back the historic forest type. Rats, mice and crazy ants, and other alien organisms, are kept off the Island by strict quarantine measures. Three threatened Seychelles endemic land birds (Seychelles warbler, Seychelles magpie robin and Seychelles white–eye) have been established and are breeding successfully. Overall, the Island restoration programme has improved the compositional, structural and functional biodiversity of the island. The coral reefs are also recovering after the mass coral bleaching event at the end of the last century. Cousine Island is thus paving the way in the craft and science of tropical island restoration as a legacy for future generations.

This book is about the recovery of Cousine Island and its natural history, told in much detail and with profuse illustration. It is for restoration ecologists, tropical ecologists, island enthusiasts, and for anyone interested in tropical island natural history.

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Foreword by Sir James Mancham


Cousine Island in a world context

Cousine as a Seychelles island

Cousine Island s conservation significance in a nutshell

How humans nearly pushed Cousine past the tipping point

The changing seasons

The lie of the land

Cousine′s rocks, soils and sand

The moody sea

Cousine′s green carpet

Cousine′s woody cloak

Cousine′s vegetation reprieve

Sponges, corals and the great bleaching event

Life in the shallow sea: from shells to urchins

Between sea and land: a variety of crabs

Ecological webmasters: terrestrial invertebrates

A rich tapestry of fish life

Cousine as a haven for turtles

Of tortoises, lizards and snakes

Overcoming the extinction of experience: sea bird haven

Aquatic and shore birds

A truly successful story: endemic land birds

The welcome and the unwelcome: vagrant and alien birds

Visiting mammals to Cousine

Cousine Island in the world today, and its future

Scientific summary

List of species recorded on and around Cousine



Photographic and artwork credits

About the authors


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Michael Samways
Peter Hitchins
Dr Orty Bourquin
Dr Jock Henwood
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown