Carte de la RéunionReunion Island is a French overseas department which, according to 2004 estimates, has 763.200 inhabitants and a land surface of 2.512 km ². The main city is Saint-Denis.

Reunion Island is located 21°5 south and 55°3 east, around 800 kilometres off the east coast of Madagascar. With the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, it forms the Mascareignes archipelago.

Reunion Island is of volcanic origin : it was formed by the successive eruptions of the Piton des Neiges and then those of the Piton de la Fournaise. The former volcano is now extinct, but the latter continues to be one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

At 3070 metres, the Piton des Neiges is the highest summit on this mountainous island, with its jagged and unusual landscape. At the centre are three “cirques”, or mountain amphitheatres, formed when the crater walls of the Piton des Neiges collapsed.

Subjected to the trade winds (called “les alizés”), Reunion Island is divided into two climate zones:
- The eastern half of the island, known as the windward side, has high rainfall and is therefore very green;
- The western half, known as the leeward side, which is far drier, being protected by the mountainous relief of the island.

There are two distinct seasons on Reunion Island:
- Winter : April to September: generally dry and cool;
- Summer : October to March: hot and rainy, sometimes affected by cyclones.

The average annual temperatures range from 10 to 28°C, depending on the area. This wide temperature range can be explained by the presence of numerous microclimates on Reunion Island, themselves due to the irregular relief.



Three topics are proposed for the next European Rural University, which will take place on 7th, 8th and 9th September 2010 in Saint-Joseph :

- Europe at the service of the rural community and its inhabitants,
- Rural professions for women,
- Culture : between heritage and innovation.

16 November 2009