Restoring the biodiversity
of the wetland
Through our properties
developed under New Mauritius Hotels and Semaris, we see a unique opportunity to reset our relationship with nature. Our ambition is to place nature at the heart of our projects, while also reducing our ecological footprint on the region surrounding Les Salines. Our restoration project, which intends to have a positive impact on the biodiversity of our wetlands, is led by a team of environmental experts - ensuring that our actions leave a lasting imprint for years to come.
For our island, for a better tomorrow
In a world that is in constant evolution, sustainability and resilience are the pillars that guide New Mauritius Hotels in everything it undertakes.
Because we are fully conscious of...
our voice and our ability to effect change as major players of this country.
we owe to our lands and the humility that must guide our actions as we face a resilient land that has so much more to teach us.
The fact that time is of the essence:
the urgency of preserving and restoring our lands can no longer be ignored.
We wish to lead the way in doing things differently, in being more respectful of nature and of the environment, and to set an example by being ever more mindful of the importance of our natural heritage. Sustainable, we are destined to be. Driven by a social and environmental consciousness, as responsible for our lands as we are for the communities that inhabit them, we choose to only carry out impactful projects rooted in resilience and integrity.
What drove our ambition
On the Salines Pilot site owned by New Mauritius Hotels, a wetland covering an area of six hectares was identified and declared an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA).
ESAs, a designation used in several countries across the world, are natural elements that play an integral role in the regulation and maintenance of ecosystems and the biodiversity of a place or a country. Among them, wetlands - notable for their unique characteristics in preventing and mitigating the effects of global warming and natural disasters - are one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on our planet. Their protection and effective management are therefore essential to ensure they function optimally, so they can, in turn, continue fulfilling their valuable societal and ecological purpose.
Driven by a desire to have a positive and meaningful impact on the biodiversity of the Rivière Noire region, New Mauritius Hotels sought out the support of environmental consultants to conduct field research and carry out a strategic analysis of the ecosystem’s state. After a complete and comprehensive assessment of its fauna, flora and current conditions, it was recommended that the wetland be relocated to enable New Mauritius Hotels to continue operating without negatively impacting this ESA. And better yet, beyond simply limiting the negative impacts, New Mauritius Hotels would help the wetland thrive by restoring its biodiversity back to its original state and former glory.
As our environmental consultant points out: “Economy and ecology are not mutually exclusive. Quite the opposite: when both pillars are joined in synergy and harmony, they create an ‘eco-economy’ that will only be beneficial for our country.” A principle that is close to our hearts as we map out the future of our operations.
A project with a
strategic environmental dimension
This project presents the opportunity to restore the biodiversity of an ecosystem that plays an essential role on our island: indeed, according to the preliminary report, recreating it and monitoring its progress will lead to: “An equivalent, if not superior, wetland, that will serve as an adequate habitat for waders, shorebirds and flora - not only for environmental purposes, but also to foster a sense of tranquility and peace.”
The relocation of the wetland was approved by the Ramsar Committee in July 2021, following a continuous monitoring approach based on a rigorous methodology developed by our consultant. This Committee, which acts in accordance with the goals set out in the Ramsar Convention, is dedicated to the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and international actions. Along with the approval of this major project, the Committee also made specific recommendations in relation to the management and preservation of the zone by New Mauritius Hotels to ensure its proper functioning.
Acquisition of the land by New Mauritius Hotels. The land, which served as a hunting ground until 2009, incorporates a badly maintained man-made wetland in a state of degradation, as well as a population of endemic trees.
Submission of an EIA report for a proposed hotel project on the land.
Approval of the EIA License, stipulating that prior clearance and approval must be obtained from the National Ramsar Committee with regards to the creation of a wetland and the restoration of its biodiversity.
Letter received from the Ministry of Environment to clarify all the technical aspects of the project.
Submission of the final report to the Ramsar Committee to shed light on all the issues raised by the authorities.
The report, which analyzes the wetland’s structure, topography, hydrology and functional condition, presents clear instructions for the creation of the new wetland and its buffer zone, with the aim of recreating similar conditions (if not superior conditions in view of the current deterioration of the area) and prompting, in turn, the flourishing of the endemic fauna and flora that inhabit this crucial environment.
Approval obtained from Ramsar Committee for the creation of a new wetland and restore the biodiversity of Les Salines.
Any project of this nature requires an adaptive management approach based on comparable data over time. With this in mind, a study will be undertaken on the fixed transects that run through the wetland, to establish a set of baseline data on its current conditions, the species observed, the quality of its soil and water…
From this, it will be possible to analyze the development and progress of the zone, and to adapt its maintenance over time in accordance with the objectives set out in the restoration plan (including the identification and evolution of species present, the calculation of population growth, and the criteria to be closely monitored).
Start of the work for the creation of the new Les Salines wetland. From this date onwards, as established during the December 2021 study, regular milestones and checkpoints will be set up to monitor the development of the zone and ensure the restoration of its biodiversity.
The Ramsar Convention
The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides its members a framework for the conservation of wetlands in their countries. Its objective is to ensure the wise and sustainable use of natural resources. Its strategic plan, which was approved by COP12, contributes to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Director and Principal Wetland Ecologist
Ryan Edwards (MSc, Pr.Sci.Nat.)
Ryan is the Director and Principal Environmental Scientist and Wetland Ecologist at Verdant Environmental with over thirteen years experience in the natural scientific and environmental management consulting sector. His core field of focus, specialisation and passion is wetland ecosystem ecology, conservation, management and restoration. He holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Environmental Science (Research Masters) that focussed on wetland origin and evolution (geomorphology) in South Africa. He has extensive experience in wetland rehabilitation / restoration planning and wetland and biodiversity offset planning, and has led the development of several high profile wetland rehabilitation and offset projects in South Africa. Other areas of expertise include specialist wetland and river (aquatic and riparian) assessments and ecological monitoring. Ryan is currently accredited as a professional natural scientist by the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) under the field of practice – ‘environmental science’.
The GEO Foundation
The GEO Foundation, an international not-for-profit organization, was founded fifteen years ago with the goal of advancing sustainability in and through golf. It provides strategic and operational support to golf facilities, tournaments and developments across the world, including golf courses that are still in the design or construction phase, ensuring they adopt sustainable practices with a credible and measurable impact. Ultimately, it aims to promote and strengthen golf’s social and environmental value. Through its ecolabel, the GEO certification, the Foundation provides credible recognition to golf courses that champion its strong sustainability commitments and best practices.
The Ministry of Environment
The EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) is a multidisciplinary study carried out by the Ministry of Environment to evaluate the possible impacts of a proposed project (for instance, the expected effects on the natural environment or human health). The EIA, which promotes the sustainable development and effective environmental management of our territories, aims to consolidate and reinforce the institutional and legal framework for the protection of environmental assets in Mauritius.
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