The shield volcanoes, cirques and boulder walls of Reunion Island are in the central zone of the Réunion National Park. The property covers an area of more than 100,000 ha, representing more than 40% of the island which is situated in the south-west of the Indian Ocean and is composed of two adjoining volcanic massifs. The property is dominated by two imposing volcanic peaks, massive boulder walls and three cirques bordered by cliffs, and it has a large diversity of rugged terrain and impressive escarpments, forested gorges and valleys, creating a spectacular landscape. It provides natural habitats for the most invaluable species of the Mascarenes. It protects the key sectors of a centre renowned for its diversity of plants and large number of species with a high level of endemism. The shield volcanoes, cirques and boulder walls of Reunion Island thus make the greatest and most important contribution to the conservation of biodiversity in the Mascarenes.
Criterion (vii):The combination of volcanic activity, tectonic landslide events, and erosion caused by heavy rainfall and streams has produced a spectacular rugged landscape of striking beauty, dominated by two volcanoes, the Piton des Neiges which is dormant, and the Piton de la Fournaise which is extremely active. The other main features of the landscape include the “remparts” – steep boulder walls varying in geological age and type, and the “cirques” which form massive natural amphitheatres of vertiginous verticality and height. There are also deep, partially forested gorges and escarpments with subtropical forests, cloud forests and heaths, producing a remarkable and beautiful mosaic of ecosystems and landscapes.
Criterion (x):The property has a great diversity and number of endemic plants. It contains the most significant remaining natural habitats for the conservation of terrestrial biodiversity in the Mascarene Islands, including a range of rare types of forest. In view of the significant and partially irreversible impact of humans on the environment in the Mascarene archipelago, the property provides the last refuge for a large number of threatened and endangered endemic species.