How Two Dutch Caribbean Islands Are Saving Coral Reefs

bonaire reef

The Dutch Caribbean islands of Statia and Saba have launched a major new project to help endangered reefs. 

The new project, called “Healthy and Resilient Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Through Reforestation of St Eustatius and Saba,” will see the reforestation of areas stripped bare of vegetation due to land erosion caused by heavy rainfall. 

“Due to large increases in above-ground water movement during heavy rainfall, along with the low abundance of vegetation on the islands, the near-shore coral reef ecosystems have been severely impacted,” said Anthony Reid, Statia’s director of economy, nature, and infrastructure (ENI). “In response to this impact, this project aims to enhance the ability of the governments and national parks foundations on both islands to respond to the needs of the marine environment through reforestation. This will improve the ecosystem services, biodiversity, and economic resilience of Statia and Saba.”

The islands are partnering on the project with the French public agency for international cooperation, Expertise France.

Statia and Saba will be working together to share expertise, from cultivating plants to beekeeping. 

 “Increasing biodiversity – especially of pollinators, such as bees – will benefit not only Statia and Saba’s nature, but also help our agricultural sectors and help towards improving our islands’ food security and hurricane resilience,” said Erik Bowman, director of the St Eustatius National Parks Foundation.

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