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The grant will provide the Plant Conservation Action group with the necessary funds to remove invasive vegetation and replace them with native species. (Plant Conservation Action group)

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(Seychelles News Agency) – Restoration work on the Tea Tavern Trail located at Sans Soucis on Seychelles’ main island of Mahe can fully resume after the Plant Conservation Action group (PCA) received a $5,000 Regional Environment Officers grant from the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday.

The grant will provide the Plant Conservation Action group with the necessary funds to remove invasive vegetation and replace them with native species. The Plant Conservation Action group is a not-for-profit organisation in Seychelles dedicated to the conservation of plants in the island nation, in particular the native flora.

The chief executive of the action group – Lindsay Chong-Seng – said that he and his team “are working with the local communities like the Port Glaud community, the Seven Days Adventist church and SNGA to maintain the trails. However, due to challenges brought about by COVID-19, it has been extremely difficult to continue and we are very grateful to be receiving the grant.”

“Generally, when there is an invasive species in an ecosystem like it is the case in Seychelles, native plants suffer as they grow slowly and produce bigger seeds with the coco de mer being a good example. Invasive plants like albisia, cinnamon and Chinese guava have a more effective mechanism when it comes to their propagation, and as such, they dominate the ecosystem,” said Chong-Seng.

He explained that this restoration project is the continuation of one that started eleven years ago.

“In 2010, Christopher Kaiser Bunbury chose five sites in Seychelles located on glacis – a boulder field with limited soil which tend to be refuges for native species – to start removing invasive plant species. Through this we learned three lessons – it is amazingly effective, there is collateral damage on non-targeted species and within two years the pollination network of native species increased by about 20 percent,” said Chong-Seng.

The Plant Conservation Action group is expected to complete the activities by December next year after which the communities involved will take over on a voluntary basis. This project is in line with the Ministry of Environment’s national programme to eradicate invasive plant species in Seychelles.

Chong-Seng outlined that his team will be focusing on one site, the Casse Dent trail, as it is a unique site with precipices on three sides and the home to a large population of pitcher plants. The site also provides a fantastic view of the western and south-western coast of Mahé.

The US Embassy Chargee d’Affaires for Mauritius and Seychelles, Judes DeBaere, outlined that the embassy is thrilled to be partnering with the Plant Conservation Action group.

“The US Embassy and PCA have a shared goal of advancing the conservation, resilience, and sustainable management of ecosystems in Seychelles. We also share the objective to protect the environment by promoting effective governance and strengthening institutional capacity,” said DeBaere.

The project has been made possible by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Over the past five years, the programme has provided over $1 million through over 100 grant awards to projects that address environmental and public health issues within an affected community while advancing environment, science, technology and health strategic priorities

Source of original article: Seychelles News Agency (www.seychellesnewsagency.com).
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