This new souvenir sheet, comprising three 110 XPF stamps, is dedicated to the plant and wildlife species of New Caledonia’s mining scrubland (maquis minier), a unique habitat featuring shrub and herbaceous cover that flourishes on mineral rich (nickel, iron & magnesium) and nutrient poor soils.
Mining scrubland, one of the world’s most unusual ecosystems, covers 23% of New Caledonia’s land surface. It shelters a wide diversity of wildlife species (insects, reptiles & birds) who have adapted to their challenging habitat, and is also home to 1,100 listed plant species, 88% of which are endemic. The Red-throated Parrotfinch (Erythrura psittacea), also known locally as a «cardinal», is a small bird belonging to the Passeriformes family and occurring in dense forest and open areas like mining scrubland. Widespread in New Caledonia, this active but quite shy bird feeds on grass seeds. Deplanchea sessilifolia is a shrub growing to up to 8m in height, found in woody scrubland and forest stands on medium altitude slopes in the Main Island, with a preference for the East and West Coasts of the North Province. It has attractive bell-shaped flowers with purplish calyxes and yellow petals. Grevillea gillivrayi is a shrub or small tree growing up to 10m in height, found in abundance in mining scrubland on the Main Island and also occurring on the Isle of Pines and Ouen Island. It bears striking spike-shaped pink, yellow, red, white or purple flowers, rather like bottle brushes.