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Ecosystem management for human well- being in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies Dr Mike Pienkowski Honorary Executive Director UK Overseas.

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Presentation on theme: "Ecosystem management for human well- being in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies Dr Mike Pienkowski Honorary Executive Director UK Overseas."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ecosystem management for human well- being in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies Dr Mike Pienkowski Honorary Executive Director UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum Black-browed Albatross, Falklands St Helena cloud forest Nature – What’s in it For Me?

2 UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies: - within the sovereign territory of UK, but - not represented in UK Parliament, nor main UK budgets Constitution and nature of each Territory different. Parts of UK Agave caymanensis, endemic to the Cayman Islands and listed as Vulnerable (Photo: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew


4 Human populationLand area (km 2 ) UKOTs & CDs 406 150 17 967 Metropolitan UK (GB & NI) 61 000 000 244 101 Individual UKOTS: <50 persons (Pitcairn) to 66,000 (Bermuda) and CDs to 91,000 (Jersey); mainly about 2000 to 20000 each (Metropolitan UK (GB & NI): 61,000,000)

5 British Antarctic Territory (BAT) British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) Falklands Aruba Dutch Antilles Bermuda Sth. Georgia and Sth Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) Greenland St Pierre & Miquelon Mayotte French Southern & Antarctic Lands (TAAF) New Caledonia Wallis & Futuna French Polynesia Overseas Countries and Territories Pitcairn St Helena Tristan da Cunha Ascension Anguilla British Virgin Is. Turks & Caïcos Cayman Is. Montserrat

6 Global biodiversity importance of UKOTs Reverse of their usual peripheral importance, with domestic UK being the minor partner in this case UKOTs hold: (All figures for UKOTs under-estimates due to incomplete study)  24 endemic (i.e. occur nowhere else) bird species (0 or 1 in GB&NI)  100 endemic reptiles (0 in GB&NI)  500 endemic invertebrates ( > 99.2% of endemic terrestrial invertebrate species occurring on UK territory)  200 endemic plants  59 endemic of species of moss in one UKOT alone  About 50% of the world's breeding albatrosses  One of the world's major coral reef nations Drury’s Hairstreak, Turks & Caicos Is Caicos Islands Reef Gecko, TCI Falkland flightless Steamer Duck

7 Brings together conservation & science bodies in UK, UKOTs & CDs Involves wide network of individuals with relevant expertise Works on a largely volunteer basis Lacks funding (could be more efficient if modest funding were available) Works closely with governments of UK and UKOTs UKOTCF-organised conference in Bermuda

8 UK member organisations of the Forum Amphibian & Reptile Conservation British Ecological Society British Microbial Biodiversity Association Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Royal Zoological Society of Scotland Zoological Society of London Associates: Army Ornithological Society Royal Air Force Ornithological Society Royal Naval Birdwatching Society

9 Member/ Associate organisations for UKOTs/CDs Alderney Wildlife Trust Anguilla National Trust Ascension Conservation Centre Ascension Heritage Society Bermuda Audubon Society Bermuda National Trust Bermuda Zoological Society Chagos Conservation Trust British Virgin Islands National Parks Trust National Trust for the Cayman Islands Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society La Société Guernesiaise National Trust for Jersey Société Jersiaise Isle of Man Wildlife & Conservation Division Montserrat National Trust Pitcairn Natural Resources Division St Helena National Trust La Société Sercquiaise South Georgia Association National Trust of the Turks & Caicos Islands

10 Facilitating capacity development of UKOT NGOs and officials Followed successful strategy of: 1. helping local people form conservation NGO where not already exist; 2. helping that NGO (and often the UKOT government environment department) develop capacity to manage itself; 3. evolving into a programme of jointly run conservation projects, transfering skills and experience to and between UKOTs. 4. raising awareness in UK of UKOTs, their conservation importance and needs, and UK’s shared responsibility in this regard.

11 Natural ecosystems are crucial for the economies of UKOTs: Natural vegetation and soil as water reservoir These are the main water reservoirs e.g. on St Helena and Montserrat Important also for prevention of erosion, nature & cultural tourism, and other functions indicated later. Foreground: the cloud forest of the Peaks, St Helena; the background, only 5 km away, the desert of Prosperous Bay Plain with many endemic invertebrates. Female Montserrat Oriole, endemic to Montserrat’s rain forest But concerns elsewhere, about failures in rainfall - ?due to climate change or changes in land-use: e.g. drying up of Brown’s Water, formerly Pitcairn’s main water supply

12 Natural ecosystems are crucial for the economies of UKOTs. Tristan da Cunha Sustainable fisheries are the main source of income in Tristan da Cunha, Falklands & South Georgia. Fishery protection vessels – in place for the Falklands and South Georgia since the 1980s – and providing a fine examples of sustainable use. However, because of lack of funding, only now being investigated for Ascension, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha. The recently announced marine protected area around the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory) should help sustain fish stocks off East Africa, as well as conserve the near-pristine coral waters. Part of the Trawler fishing fleet, Stanley, Falklands One of the Falklands / S Georgia fishery patrol vessels Middle Brother, a small part of the Chagos Archipelago

13 Natural ecosystems are crucial for the economies of UKOTs. Hurricane & storm protection: mangroves & coral reefs Important also as nurseries for fish, to filter coastal pollution, and for tourism 10% of world coral reefs are in OTs of UK/F/NL However, these continue to be destroyed by inappropriate development (below).

14 Natural ecosystems are crucial for the economies of UKOTs. Use of natural materials for medicines, crafts etc

15 Natural ecosystems are crucial for the economies of UKOTs. Sustainable power Falklands: Small-scale wind-power at settlements. On Ascension, a wind farm soon to be completed and will supply the Island's power and also run the desalinisation plant. This will replace the diesel powered generators currently being used to supply power and water to the Island. The generators will be kept for a back up supply. Pitcairn: investigations of wind- and solar-power in progress.

16 Natural ecosystems are crucial for the economies of UKOTs. Control of invasive species For instance, a current species recovery project is clearing invasives from over 150 hectares of pastureland on St Helena. This will benefit the Wirebird through providing an increased area of optimal habitat, and humans through providing an increased area of pastureland for livestock production. In other areas, invasive plants are being cleared to help the threatened endemic vegetation – but it will benefit also agriculture. Wirebird or St Helena Plover

17 Natural ecosystems are crucial for the economies of UKOTs. Tourism – the good, …

18 Natural ecosystems are crucial for the economies of UKOTs. Tourism – …the bad … Adult and immature Greater Flamingos on a site now lost

19 Natural ecosystems are crucial for the economies of UKOTs. Tourism – … and the ugly

20 Extinctions as a non-sustainability measure 39 recorded extinctions in the UKOTs (despite limited study) 2 species survive only in captivity/cultivation Latest recorded global extinction in UK territory (St Helena Olive) 2003 – after UK agreed to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. Several other species at immediate risk of global extinction in UKOTs. At least 240 UKOT species are at high risk of global extinction. Blue Iguana, endemic to Grand Cayman, “Mountain Chicken” frog, endemic to Montserrat and Dominica Spectacled Petrel off Tristan da Cunha group, this species breeds only on Inaccessible Island.

21 Why are species going globally extinct in UK territory? UK Government spends about 500 times less on conservation in UKOTs (£1m pa) than in GB & NI (>£460m pa) (UK Govt figures) There are 10x to 100x more endemic species (or several other measures) in UKOTs than in GB&NI. Therefore UK Government spends at least 4 orders of magnitude less per endemic species in its Overseas Territories than in Great Britain & Northern Ireland.

22 Resource needs for UK to achieve 2010 target in UKOTs & CDs – but not by 2010 At a stage when, in domestic UK, a project would move into a recovery plan, it stops in a UKOT because of the lack of such a fund. Need a separate UK Government fund (at least an order of magnitude larger than the existing small projects funds) for large-scale conservation projects/ sustainable usage issues Need also to make National Lottery funding etc available for UKOT & CD projects, but lottery bodies seem to think that the UKOTs are foreign! Greater Antillean Bullfinch, TCI Rockhopper Penguin, Falklands Elephant Seals, South Georgia

23 What are the main needs to stop the loss of biodiversity and enhance sustainable use? An open approach in UKOTs to decision making in planning, with encouraged involvement of civil society. Recognition in UK (public, officials and politicians) that Territories are part of UK, not foreign – and that it shares responsibility for their conservation. This means UK Government both: - providing a major contribution to funding conservation work in UKOTs/CDs - implementing its responsibilities for the UKOTs, this having a major impact on the environment King Penguins, South Georgia Central Mangrove Wetlands, Grand Cayman

24 From the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee report on Halting Biodiversity Loss (published 10 November 2008) “With leadership, and a relatively small sum of money, the incredible biodiversity found in our overseas territories can be safeguarded into the future. One of the most important contributions that the Government could make to slowing the catastrophic global biodiversity loss currently occurring would be to accept its responsibilities and to provide more support for the UK Overseas Territories in this area.” Albatross at sunset, off South Georgia


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