The state of cactus fences and kunukus for nature inclusivity on the island of Bonaire

Lazebnik, Jenny; Eupen, Michiel van; Verweij, Peter


Agriculture on Bonaire does not support the demand for food on the island, and therefore the people are dependent on expensive food importation. Recently, any Bonairean people abandon their kunukus to take jobs in the urban area in tourism or off-island in the oil industry. Traditionally, a kunuku was used as an agricultural plot for food production for the household. A kunuku would usually have a cactus fence used to contain grazing goats or chickens, or to produce household amounts of sorghum maize, and keep animals out. In order to help restore nature to Bonaire and include it in the daily lives of people, restoration and use of cactus fences on kunukus are being considered as nature inclusive measure. In order to get a better understanding of the current use of kunukus and presence of cactus fences on the island, satellite information and field observations were collected about the state of kunukus and the use of cactus fences. Results show that kunukus are rapidly being abandoned. The predictive accuracy from satellite imagery of active kunukus was high (92.5%). Furthermore, only 4% of the active kunukus have a well-maintained cactus fence. Implications of these findings are discussed with focus on nature inclusiveness and the use of the kunuku as a means to restore a cultural pride, self-sufficiency, local economic diversification and a healthier food culture on Bonaire.