Status of plant conservation in oceanic islands of the Western Indian Ocean.
We review plant conservation in the Mascarenes (Réunion, Mauritius, Rodrigues) and the granitic Seychelles islands. Sizes of angiosperm floras are: Seychelles (200 species, c. 70 endemics of which c. 70% are threatened), Mauritius (691 species of which 273 are single island endemics [SIE] and another 150 are Mascarene endemics [ME]), Rodrigues (150 species, 47 SIE, 72 ME), Réunion (550 species, c. 165 SIE, c. 140 ME). The main threats affecting plant diversity are small population sizes and fragmentation, and invasive alien species. While in Mauritius, Rodrigues and Seychelles <5% of intact habitat is left, this proportion is still 30% in Réunion. Consequently habitat restoration is a priority in Mauritius, Rodrigues and Seychelles. All islands have recently greatly advanced some aspects of plant conservation, while gaps are also apparent. Advances include conservation strategies (all), ex situ conservation (all), extent of protected areas (Réunion, Seychelles), new NGOs (Réunion, Seychelles) and outreach (Réunion, Seychelles). Weaknesses include lack of government support (Mauritius, Rodrigues), local scientific expertise (Mauritius, Rodrigues, Seychelles). Given the similarity in biogeography and past and current anthropogenic disturbances a regional plant conservation network and strategy needs to be strengthened.