Mauritius

THE republic OF Mauritius, located in the Indian Ocean, has a land area of 787 sq. mi. (1,860 sq. km.), a population of 1,262,000 (2006 est.), and a population density of 1,564 people per sq. mi. (616 people per sq. km.). About 49 percent of the country is arable, with a further 3 percent used for meadow and pasture. An additional 31 percent of the island is wooded, with extensive forest plantations.

Regarding electricity production in the country, 91 percent of it comes from fossil fuels, with the remaining 9 percent from hydropower. In 1990, Mauritius had a per capita carbon dioxide emission rate of 1.4 metric tons per person, rising to 2.6 metric tons per person by 2003. Ninety percent of these emissions come from the use of liquid fuels, with the remainder from solid fuels.

The effects of global warming and climate change will have a major impact on Mauritius. The rise in the temperature of the Indian Ocean is likely to have a serious adverse effect on the coral reefs located around the island, with those to the north of the island particularly popular with tourists. There is also the possibility of increased flooding of low-lying parts of the country, especially around Grand Baie.

In 1990, the World Bank was critical of the lax environmental laws in Mauritius, and the government responded by quickly establishing a Ministry for the Environment. The government took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, and ratified the Vienna Convention in the same year. On May 9, 2001, it accepted the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which took effect on February 16, 2005.

sEE ALsO: Indian Ocean; Oceanic Changes; Tourism.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. John McCarry, "Mauritius: Island of Quiet

Success," National Geographic (v.183/4, 1993); Mauritius at the Crossroads—The Industrial Challenges Ahead (Ministry of Industry and Industrial Technology, 1990); World Resources Institute, "Mauritius—Climate and Atmosphere," www.earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).

JUSTIN CORFIELD Geelong Grammar School, Australia

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