Monday, 1 February 2021

Fauna and Flora

Celebrating Protected Areas in Seychelles


On Sunday 31 January 2021, Seychelles celebrated Protected Areas Day. The Indian Ocean destination is a global Protected Areas champion, with one of the world's highest ratios of land and sea set aside for protection. Seychelles has recently declared 30% of its marine territory - an area roughly the size of Germany - as protected and roughly 47% of its total landmass is reserved for Protected Areas. These include National Parks, Special Reserves, World Heritage Sites and Protected Wetlands.

THE BENEFITS OF PROTECTED AREAS:
Protected Areas safeguard critical natural zones that are deemed to provide a range of goods and services, protect historical and cultural resources of national or global importance, or are considered important for the sustainability of indigenous and endemic species. The range of benefits provided by protected areas are many:

PROTECTED AREAS SAFEGUARD BIODIVERSITY
Every day up to 150 species become extinct. Protected Areas guard critical habitats for species so that they can thrive in nature, unimpacted by human disturbance. Recent studies have shown that, on average, the number of species found in Protected Areas is 10.6% higher than in areas outside of protected zones. 

PROTECTED AREAS ARE IMPORTANT FOR TOURISM
Areas protected for their unique biodiversity, natural beauty or cultural significance are frequently popular tourist attractions. On average, visitors to Seychelles will visit 2.4 Protected Areas during their stay, with a 2017 survey indicating that 87.5% of all tourists will visit at least one Protected Area during their holiday.

MARINE PROTECTED AREAS BENEFIT FISHERIES
Marine Parks, and areas where fishing is not allowed, are surprisingly beneficial to the fishing industry. They allow for areas where fish populations can thrive and grow, before moving out into unprotected waters where they may be caught by fishermen. Since Marine Parks also protect the breeding grounds of many species, they ensure healthier, more sustainable fish stocks and allow individuals to grow to bigger sizes.

PROTECTED AREAS PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH
Protected Areas are economic engines. Tourism is the most important pillar of Seychelles' economy, as it contributes to more than 50% of the country’s GDP and supports 30% of its workforce. Fisheries are the second-most significant contributors to the nation's GDP - both industries are supported by Protected Areas in sustainable ways that prioritise longevity and the protection and cultivation of natural resources.

PROTECTED AREAS HELP TO SLOW CLIMATE CHANGE
The planet's oceans and forested areas are essential for regulating global temperatures and absorbing greenhouse gases produced by modern industry. In addition to helping to stabilise global weather patterns, protected forested areas also help manage erosion and flooding, which can wreak havoc on nearby settlements and economies.

PROTECTED AREAS PROVIDE ACCESS TO CLEAN WATER
Most communities rely on freshwater sources for their drinking water. Well-managed natural forests almost always provide higher quality water - these Protected Areas help to absorb pollution from the atmosphere and regulate soil erosion, which in turn means fewer sediments and contaminants in water sources.

PROTECTED AREAS BENEFIT LEARNING AND RECREATION
Protected Areas provide the settings for healthy outdoor recreation and exploration. In Seychelles, popular recreation activities include hiking, snorkeling, diving, fishing and time spent on the beach. Exploring Protected Areas offers tourists and residents alike the opportunity to understand and appreciate nature while enjoying exercise and improving their overall health and well being. Much evidence has been accumulated on the recuperative effects of spending time in nature. Well-managed Protected Areas also offer important arenas for research and an improved understanding of our planet.


In Seychelles, a range of NGOs and conservation organizations - such as the SNPA, MCSS, ICS, SIF, GIF and SeyCAtt, to name a few - work tirelessly to protect and preserve areas and remote islands spanning over hundreds of thousands of kilometers. 

DISCOVER SEYCHELLES' PROTECTED AREAS WITH MASON'S TRAVEL:
Mason’s Travel has carefully designed a portfolio of exciting excursions and activities that showcase the best of Seychelles' best-loved Protected Areas, making it convenient and affordable for you or your clients to enjoy these important sites. Our knowledgeable, local guides and seamless transfer options make visiting various Protected Areas - scattered across multiple islands - both effortless and informative.
We can also arrange for private tours of Protected Areas for groups or individuals with special interests or that require bespoke itineraries. Contact our reservations team today!



Special thanks to the Seychelles National Parks Authority for the graphic and above information and for maintaining over 30km of hiking trails on Mahe Island!