Much of the unique native vegetation of Mauritius has been destroyed. Coastal ebony (Diospyros egrettarum I.B.K. Richardson) forest forms an extreme type of Mauritian lowland forest which no longer exists on mainland Mauritius and only survives on one offshore islet, Ile aux Aigrettes. Undisturbed D. egrettarum forest is resistant to invasion by exotic plants, which have now invaded most relict patches of native lowland vegetation in Mauritius. Human disturbance however, has allowed many exotics (particularly Flacourtia indica (Burm. fil.) Merrill) to invade and form new vegetation types. Much of the disturbance was caused by illegal woodcutting up to 1985, prompted by an acute fuelwood shortage in Mauritius. On the basis of 132 4 X 4 m quadrats, we recognize 10 types of natural, semi-natural and exotic vegeta-tion. The conservation of the remaining natural ebony woodland vegetation requires the total cessation of woodcutting and the eradication of Tabebuia pallida (Lindl.) Miers (potentially the most damaging exotic species).