First book on Praslin’s ‘Le Ravin de Fond Ferdinand’, the world’s biggest coco-de-mer reserve, launched |06 July 2021
Steen G. Hansen, local biologist and environmentalist, has done it again – another very well written, comprehensive, lavishly illustrated book but this time on ‘Le Ravin de Fond Ferdinand’, the world’s biggest coco-de-mer reserve on Praslin. Once again the work is an outstanding product from Mifa Publications, Au Cap.
Mr Hansen was again assisted by Dr Victorin F. Laboudallon and well-known former tour guide, Gemma Jessy (both from Praslin) and in collaboration with Mifa Publications have produced the book.
Accompanying the book, which was launched recently, are also two very colourful leaflets – one on the ‘Le Ravin de Fond Ferdinand’ while the other is on the ‘Dans Gallas’ nature trail.
Through its 110 pages the book covers the reserve’s history together with its different vegetation types, selected plants and animals, and ongoing conservation efforts of Fond Ferdinand – and that in an easy-to-read way and absolutely fascinating.
As something extraordinary and a bit unusual, the authors have chosen to present the striking forest floor and its crucial importance for the local eco-system in the deep, endemic coco-de-mer forest as well.
Furthermore, the authors have dwelled on the very special forest atmosphere, its colours, sounds and smells, which along with the outstanding plants and animals add to a unique experience when walking the trails of this very special reserve on Praslin.
From the history section, we learn among others, that the name ‘Fond Ferdinand’ actually means ‘Ferdinand’s private property’, since ‘Fond’ is the old local name for ‘private property’ and does not here refer to a foundation, as one would think. From the conservation section we can further read about the many harmful bushfires that over the years have hit Praslin and Fond Ferdinand in particular and what is being done to prevent further disasters.
We can moreover follow the ongoing efforts to rehabilitate the depleted soils after the fires, to strengthen the coco-de-mer population, to try to battle the illegal poaching, and the efforts to beat the devastating problem caused by invasive aliens.
Finally, a list of plants growing in Fond Ferdinand is for the first time being presented.
Besides being informative and engaging, the book is a real eye opener to the unique nature prevailing within the 42 ha (2½ times the nearby sister reserve Vallée de Mai) on the south of Praslin, and it targets therefore first time visitors as well as trained scientists, who might want to look further into the reserve’s stunning biological or ecological tropical secrets.
“The world is precious, and the only way to preserve it is to know about it by self-examination,” says Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Flavien Joubert, in his Preface to the book. He adds: “Hence, I can only encourage you to pay a visit to this unique area. Friendly and professional guides are there to assist you, and with Mr Hansen’s book and his easy accessible leaflet covering the two ‘main’ trails in the reserve you will obtain the maximum of visiting or re-visiting this magnificient site.”