The 11 French Overseas tropical island territories, located in three oceans (Atlantic, Indian and Pacific), harbored a high species and habitat diversity on small terrestrial areas. Indeed, these islands comprise 70% of the 17,947 endemic plant and animal species known in France on an area of only 4 % of the French nation. This “mega-biological” diversity hold France responsible for the study and conservation of this biodiversity at the international level. Moreover, this unique natural heritage is highly threatened by local and global anthropogenic changes (e.g. loss and degradation of natural habitats, biological invasions, climate change) with exacerbated impacts in the more vulnerable island ecosystems, and with record numbers of extinct of endangered endemic species. Those challenges justify that particular efforts in research and conservation sciences should be conducted on both species and habitats. Research programs dedicated to island terrestrial biodiversity (including wetlands), with more concerted efforts between research scientists, managers and local island communities, and between territories sharing the same challenges, should lead to common strategies and demonstrate the relevance of knowledge issues as well as the importance of these overseas tropical island territories at the national, regional and international scales.
endemism, extinction, French Overseas territories, island ecosystems