Improved capacity for Conservation Action and Sustainable Management: Data collection to inform biodiversity conservation, wildlife protection and general area surveillance programmes within the PSEPA.

@Saint Lucia National Trust
Publicado: 14 Junio 2023
Última edición: 14 Junio 2023
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Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic reduced the income generated by the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT), an NGO charged with heritage conservation and the management of protected and conserved areas and biodiversity in Saint Lucia; resulting in a 60% reduction in staffing, and significant reduction in conservation and PA management activities within the Pointe Sables Environmental Protection Area (PSEPA). The PSEPA, a 1038ha site along Saint Lucia’s southeast coast inclusive of two offshore islands, is home to critically endangered species. Reduced monitoring will result in reversal of achievements under previous conservation efforts. The SLNT received a 12-month BIOPAMA Rapid Response Grant-Caribbean (RRG-C-1090) in 2021, and this facilitated a robust response to the debilitating impact of COVID-19 on its programming. RRG-C-1090 greatly improved the SLNT’s monitoring and management capacity and sustained conservation initiatives during this period of economic downturn.

Clasificaciones

Region
El Caribe
Scale of implementation
Local
Nacional
Subnacional
Ecosystem
Arrecifes coralinos
Ecosistemas marinos y costeros
Manglares
Playa
Pradera marina
Theme
Actores locales
Caza furtiva y delitos ambientales
Especies y la extinción
Gobernanza de las áreas protegidas y conservadas
Islas
Medios de vida sostenibles
Servicios ecosistémicos
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Seguimiento e investigación de especies
Challenges
Cacería furtiva
Sustainable development goals
ODS 14 - Vida submarina
ODS 15 - Vida de ecosistemas terrestres

Ubicación

Vieux Fort
Mostrar en “Planeta protegido”

Challenges

During COVID-19, incidents of illegal sea turtle harvesting and nest poaching increased within the PSEPA, and were reported to the police. Illegal wildlife trafficking and unsustainable use of natural resources to sustain livelihoods also increased. Monitoring capacity was urgently needed to reduce the likelihood and severity of these activities on resources and species within the PSEPA. Additionally, the national shutdown and subsequent reduction in the Trust's revenue generating capacity, forced the organisation to downsize its staff complement. This brought significant challenges as positions which were critical to the organisation’s effective conservation management programme in the PSEPA, especially the organisation's surveillance and resource conservation and mobilisation capacity within the PSEPA such as Rangers and a Project Officer/Office Manager, could not be funded due to the significant economic downturn and loss of revenue.

Beneficiaries

PSEPA supports livelihoods of at least 108 resource users: fishers, sea moss farmers, apiculturists, charcoal producers, tourism and hospitality workers, restaurant operators, and food vendors. 

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

In responding adequately to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic while allowing for continued achievement of organisational goals, the SLNT focussed on the critical programming component of conservation within the PESPA. The Building Blocks of this effort addressed the challenge of lack of human resource capacity and the traning of new recruits in the requisite skills for monitoring, surveillance and data gathering. This to address gaps created by reduced financial resources. Building Block 1 addressed the Lack of Capacity or the need for personnel to conduct monitoring, surveillance and data collection activities. Personnel were recruited from the first to the third quarter of implementation. Building Block 2 created the enabling conditions for the newly developed capacity to be utilised. Materials and equipment were procured and the new recruits were trained to conduct activities such as patrolling, monitoring, surveillance and collection of conservation data on the endemic wildlife species and terrestrial and marine ecosystems (offshore islands, mangroves). The result is a very engaged ranger team that has been retained by the Saint Lucia National Trust, even after closure of the project.

Impacts

The project resulted in the enhanced capacity of the SLNT to manage and monitor PSEPA. The grant provided materials, equipment and financial resources for the SLNT to recruit. Important outcomes included preservation of wildlife, resumption of turtle monitoring and general PA surveillance activities. This created a significant impact as the resources from the grant allowed the Trust to resume monitoring and data collection within the PSEPA. This was achieved through the following:

  1. Recruitment of core conservation staff and additional and new rangers
  2. Train new rangers in use of the various tools and techniques
  3. Resume conservation activities which had been scaled back within the PSEPA due to staffing limitations

The solution resulted in important environmental impacts. The presence of the ranger team reduced illegal practices such as sand mining. The team’s actions in the area of wildlife conservation provided a level of protection for endemic species on the Maria Islands. They further provided support to the data collection and monitoring programme, thereby ensuring the availability of some data to guide conservation actions. With regards to the social and economic impact of the solution, the continuation of employment for some members and the new ranger jobs created ensured that at least five families were able to enjoy the benefits of employment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Story

@Augustine Dominique

Collaboration between Hotel Workers and the Ranger Team of the Saint Lucia National Trust.

Reported by Augustine Dominique, Conservation Manager

The day began at 6:00 am when I received a call from the Head Ranger of our team at the southern office of the Saint Lucia National Trust that a turtle had made it to the Pointe Sables beach to nest but had become entrapped near the beach overlooking a hotel (Coconut Bay Resort and Spa). It was about to be freed from its entanglement and I was told that this would allow me some time to make the 5–8-minute drive to the area to witness my first turtle sighting since I started the assignment as Project Manager with the southern office of the SLNT. The fact that I was able to witness my first turtle landing on the job symbolizes the importance of collaboration between the community and the SLNT in protecting biodiversity. My wife was more excited than I was to be a part of this adventure, and in 2 minutes we were ready and on our way to Vieux Fort and Pointe Sables Beach, arriving on the beach near the hotel a few minutes later.

There, entangled in some mesh like material near the hotel was a hawksbill turtle. Jeg, SLNT's Head Ranger, was anxious to release the poor creature but had awaited my arrival since I had pleaded with him days earlier to give me a call no matter the hour as I wanted to be present when a turtle was sighted. We made sure to capture the moment on camera while Jeg emphasised the importance and benefits of the developing relationship between our team and the hotel staff. It should be noted that in the past, incidents of poaching of turtles for their meat and eggs which are regarded as local delicacies was a common occurrence. Consequently, the hotel staff and hotel by extension have become key stakeholders in the turtle monitoring programme. This relationship has resulted in a reduction of threats to our marine friends during the time of year when they land on PSEPA’s shores ready to lay their eggs in the act of producing new generations of turtles. The moral of the story was that at a time when the threat of poaching sea turtles was a common practice, a member of the hotel security team had alerted our head ranger of the presence of the trapped turtle on property. This is testament to the relationship that was being developed between the hotel staff and out rangers and speaks volumes regarding the benefits of developing a thorough stakeholder engagement component strategy.  

Contribuido por

Imagen de augustine.dominique_42924

Augustine Dominique Saint Lucia National Trust

Other contributors

Saint Lucia National Trust
Bianca Gittens
Saint Lucia National Trust