La Réserve naturelle de Saint-Martin est une aire marine protégée de 30km2 située au nord-est de l’île de Saint-Martin. Créé en 1998, cet espace préserve les cinq principaux écosystèmes de l’île : récifs coralliens, mangroves, herbiers de phanérogames, étangs et forêt sèche littorale. La Réserve gère également les 14 étangs du Conservatoire du littoral et ses 11 km de rivages terrestres naturels.

BEST : a European project to preserve biodiversity

15 territories affected by the project BEST
15 territories affected by the project BEST

We spoke about project BEST in our last issue, and today it is making great strides. The project was initiated so that the EU could strengthen the sustainable conservation of the unique biodiversity of its 34 overseas territories, particularly its 15 island territories in the Caribbean, whether French, Dutch or British. The idea is to establish an inventory of the biodiversity and its challenges, in terms of conservation, that exist in each of these territories, and to ensure long-term funding, which they often lack today. In cooperation with the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and CAR-SPAW (Centre d’activités régional pour les espèces et les espaces spécialement protégés de la Caraïbe), based in Guadeloupe, the Saint-Martin Nature Reserve plays a key role in the project since it is going to coordinate the platform or the “hub”, made up of all these territories. This task was entrusted to Romain Renoux, Head of the Regional Cooperation Department at the Reserve, in collaboration with Amandine Vaslet, an employee at CAR-SPAW, as part of the agreement between the Reserve and this center. Amandine, who completed a PhD at the Université Antilles-Guyane in Guadeloupe on fish ecology in mangroves and in seagrass beds, is being hosted and based at the Reserve for two years, which will run until June 2016. She is now seeking to make contact with local stakeholders on the islands concerned in order to write up a summary analysis about the different ecosystem profiles, and to identify clean-up action priorities for each territory. All work will be done by consulting with the local networks and institutions of each country, and this information will be shared bit by bit as the project advances. Meetings are set up and the final report, written in English, will serve as database for the European Union before launching sustainable actions to preserve its ecological environment in the Caribbean... and before putting any funding forward.

In Saint-Martin, Romain Renoux and Amandine Vaslet gave a presentation of the project to Alex Richards, Head of European Affairs and Regional Cooperation. In Guadeloupe they have already been in contact with the National Park, the Director of the Environment, the Regional Council and the Antilles branch of the Agence des Aires Marines Protégées.

Amandine Vaslet
Amandine Vaslet

All articles from: Newsletter-21

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