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The total extent of forest cover in Mauritius is estimated at 47,159 hectares representing about 25% of the total land area. There are only two types of forest ownership: public and private. There are more forests on private lands with an estimated extent of 25,000 hectares as compared to about 22,159 hectares on state lands. Approximately 147 23 ha of land are covered with planted forests. The remaining are natural forests, most of which are badly degraded. Only around 2% of the land area of Mauritius is considered to be covered with good quality native forests.The forests of the Republic of Mauritius are small in area but perform vital functions, the most important of them being soil and water conservation. Where water is scarce, all activities, be they agriculture, tourism or manufacturing, are seriously affected. The environmental function of forests far outweighs their direct economic function in small island developing state. The roles of forests in reducing soil erosion, carbon sequestration, conservation of biodiversity & genetic resources, recreation & ecotourism are now widely recognized and valued. Consequently, conservation, protection and development of the remaining native forests through sustainable management are priority objectives of the overall national policy of Mauritius. In fact, the forests of the Republic of Mauritius are now managed more for these environmental functions rather than for the production of timber.