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Increasing Grenadines Biodiversity Education and Conservation Capacity.

Area Of Work: Biodiversity

Operational Phase: Phase 5

Grant Amount: US$ 39,325.00

Co-Financing cash: US$ 4,487.00

Co-Financing in-Kind: US$ 115,560.00

Project Description: The Wildlife Reserves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are prime examples of paper parks. Despite being the last refuge for a variety of wildlife, there is a paucity of research, conservation, or law enforcement presence on these and other uninhabited islands. Some of these islands had their first comprehensive seabird survey in 2009 as part of EPIC s Seabird Breeding Atlas of the Lesser Antilles. While much remains to be discovered about the biodiversity of these sites, the Atlas surveys identified two Grenadine islands that classify as global Important Bird Areas for seabirds, meaning they represent more than 1% of the global population of one or more species, while five other islands are regionally important.

A lack of local resources as well as the remoteness of some islands has been a challenge in properly managing these sites and given them the attention they need. They are primarily visited by local fishermen who make use of the islands during fishing trips, whether to prepare a meal, wait out a storm, or collect seabird eggs and chicks.

Many islands no longer have any breeding seabirds left, likely due to anthropogenic forces, such as introduced predators or harvesting by people. In addition, fires periodically cover some islands, whether by accident or to keep brush down and facilitate seabird harvest. A recent socioeconomic survey of fishermen and other stakeholders indicates that while consumption of seabirds or eggs is practiced by approximately half the respondents, the practice also holds little to no economic value for the majority of resource users.

The biological richness of many sites has never been assessed. For example, the herpetofauna of many islands has not been catalogued. However, the discovery of a new species of Gecko on inhabited Union Island illustrates the potential for additional new species in these remote sites, some of which likely remain free from introduced predators.

Threats to the islands have also not been assessed. The impact of seabird harvesting and introduced predators in particular merits attention as seabird populations continue to decline. A recent stakeholder survey showed that over half of respondents consume seabird eggs while nearly half eat seabirds. Non-native wildlife, such as rats, can impact plant ecology as well by consuming seeds and modifying habitat.

A key component in protection of these habitats is developing advocates who value biodiversity. The current school curriculum lacks a biodiversity component or introductions to native flora and fauna. In addition, there is limited media to promote the protection of biodiversity among schools or the general public.

Goal

The goal of this project is to develop knowledge and stewardship of the biodiversity of the Grenadines among the public, gove

country :Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Jan 10, 2015
Words:487
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