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​Mare aux Vacoas​

The forests of Mauritius are small in area but perform vital functions, the most important of them being soil and water conservation. Where water is scarce, activities like agriculture, tourism or manufacturing are seriously affected. The environmental functions of forests in small island developing states (SIDS) far outweigh their direct economic functions.

The roles of forests in reducing soil erosion, enhancing carbon sequestration, conservation of biodiversity & genetic resources, recreation & ecotourism are now widely recognized and valued. Consequently, conservation, protection and development of the remaining forests through sustainable management are priority objectives of the overall national forest policy of Mauritius. In fact, the forests of Mauritius are now managed more for these environmental functions rather than for timber production.

Consequently, timber exploitation is gradually being phased out and will be restricted to salvage operations following cyclones and other natural disasters such as outbreaks of insect attacks, diseases and droughts. In future, emphasis in forest management will be on increasing the size of the forest estate, resource conservation, protection of ​​​watersheds and forest ecosystems, biodiversity conservation and replacement of harmful invasive exotic species by native species.