Biodiversity of the Dutch Caribbean

In this TripleP@Sea theme we will collaboratively develop a conceptual framework for sustainable exploitation and an appropriate governance structure for tropical (small-island) ecosystem services.

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Caribbean Netherlands) are fully part of the Netherlands, where they have a special island status as public bodies of the Netherlands.

St. Eustatius aims for economic development in combination with preservation and development of its ecosystems.

The concept of ecosystem services offers opportunities to link economic activities sustainably to the rich biodiversity of the island.

The focus will be on a combination of ecosystem functions including diversified sustainable recreation (beach recreation, green tourism); sustainable mariculture (for food and feed) whilst closing the nutrient cycle; on site purification of waste from cruise ships and local waste (sewage, oil transhipment); a net environmental and economic benefit analysis for oil spill responses; vegetation management and sustainable farming/horticulture to decrease adverse impact of soil erosion and emission of macronutrients (NPK) to the coral reefs.

This TripleP@Sea theme will support the development of a multifunctional knowledge and education centre at St. Eustatius for dissemination of results and capacity building in the region.

The study identifies four major leads: biodiversity (functions and threats), ecosystem services (tourism, marine food production, regulation), governance (spatial and socioeconomic conflicts, incentives, public-private coalitions), and education.

The project will lead to: an overview of conservation and management priorities for sustainable ecosystem use; maps of ecological feedback loops and documentation of key ecosystem impacts; indicators for ecosystem carrying capacity; maps of socioeconomic and spatial use conflicts; scenarios for sustainable multifunctional mariculture and agriculture development; and an ecosystem services based governance structure evaluation tool and payment model. In addition the project will lead to regional visibility and exploitation of a knowledge and education centre as a meeting point for sustainable development in the Caribbean.

The focus for this theme will be led on combining clean port, erosion prevention, building with nature, green tourism, fisheries enhancement and selective fisheries & subsea production, closely linked to the development of a multifunctional information centre at St. Eustatius.