The site comprises a steep-sided valley in the dry, north-western lowlands between St-Denis and La Possession, together with the lowest part of the Ravine à Jacques, 1 km to the north-east. It contains a few habitations at the river mouths, a tourist centre and a military firing range, but around 40% of the site is protected, as it is one of the last sites on La Réunion where dry evergreen lowland forest survives. Other major habitats are secondary grassland and exotic thickets; small areas of cliff and rocky shore also occur.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. The site supports a high density of breeding Circus maillardi (5–10 pairs in 1997) and two of the largest known colonies of Collocalia francica (at least two large colonies totalling c.1,000 pairs in 1998) and all the other forest-living native birds of La Réunion except Coracina newtoni. Up to 100 pairs each of three seabird species (Puffinus pacificus, P. lherminieri and Phaethon lepturus) nest, but their populations are not globally significant.
Non-bird biodiversity: Dry evergreen lowland forest is the most threatened vegetation-type on the island, and supports many endemic plants.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The conservation value of the site is recognized by several authorities. In 1998, nearly half (354 ha) of the site had been acquired for conservation purposes by Le Conservatoire du Littoral (257 ha) or the Département (as an Espace Natural Sensible covering 97 ha), while the Direction Régionale de l’Environnement de la Réunion and ONF were preparing a management plan taking account of conservation and touristic values. However, the most appropriate long-term conservation strategy for the site has yet to be finalized; designation as a Nature Reserve would be justified. The main threats are fire and the effects of plant and animal introductions, including grazing by goats.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ravine de la Grande Chaloupe. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 18/06/2019.