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New Caledonia, a case in point for exceptional biodiversity


Some 55 million years ago, tectonic forces raised the oceanic plate that overlaps the New Caledonia’s Grande Terre, thereby creating the mountainous chain that spans the entire length of the main island. The evergreen rainforest stretches for the most part from the south to the north, along this ridge that separates the two coasts, West and East, with their contrasting climates and geography.


New Caledonia, a case in point for exceptional biodiversity
The West coast, characterised by vast plains and savannahs, forms the transition from the dense forest to the coast mangroves. Here the deciduous forest can be found, covering only 1% of its original area. The mountains of the East coast descend directly into the lagoon and enclose lush green valleys. The vegetation found on the ultramafic rocks (peridotite and serpentine, of igneous origin), which cover nearly one-third of New Caledonia, offers an exceptionally rich biodiversity (more than 2150 indigenous species), of which 82% is endemic.
New Caledonia alone accounts for nearly 75% of the mass of reefs and lagoons found in French territories. The inscription of New Caledonia’s lagoons into UNESCO’s world heritage list in 2008 provides internatonal recognition of their natural wealth.
Thanks to the extraordinary diversity of its fauna and terrestrial flora, its wealth in terms of number of species that populate its coral reefs, New Caledonia is recognised today as having one of the most treasured biodiversities in the world. This exceptional heritage carries with it an important duty to both manage and preserve. In this light, several public and associative environmental organisations contribute with their actions to improving knowledge, raising awareness among the populations and preserving this natural heritage.


Mots clés : English
Source IRD - Traduction Translate