Developing a biodiversity & human well-being toolkit
Land-use change is one of five main drivers of biodiversity loss. For many UKOTs, including Montserrat, piecemeal development of land is seen as a major threat to biodiversity. For Montserrat, following the destruction of the largest town in the late 1990s volcanic eruption, development for housing is an ongoing necessity. Successive Island-plans have recognised Montserrat’s natural resources as important assets in economic growth and sustainability, but, to date, there has been limited practical support or detailed guidance on how to integrate biodiversity conservation adequately into built-development practices. Since 2010 when the last island development plan was published, there has been an explosion of research linking biodiversity with human health and well-being.
Built-developments can provide an opportunity for biodiversity to flourish; however if not encouraged or widely promoted, they can result in localised biodiversity-loss and accidental or deliberate introduction of non-native species that can ultimately become invasive, resulting in negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, human health and/or the economy.
Project outputs will provide a mechanism for the community to implement the objectives of the islands Sustainable Development Plan (SDP) and the Physical Development Plan (PDP), currently being updated in a way which acts for biodiversity and human well-being. It will extend the use of Montserrat’s valued asset, the native plant nursery and developing on-island herbarium, ultimately to promote and conserve the value of endemic and native wildlife. This is important because native plant nurseries can reduce reliance on imports for landscaping in developments and contribute directly towards species conservation and education. The project will both use standardised baseline survey and build on emerging citizen-science recording to evaluate successes for biodiversity.
This project takes place on Montserrat in the Eastern Caribbean. It brings together many partners and builds on some previously successful projects (see Blue Iguana to Blue Vervain and DPLUS155 Adopt a Home for Wildlife). It is funded by the UK Government’s Darwin Plus; part of its Biodiversity Challenge Funds. It started in April 2023 and ends in 2026. It aims to enable the community to input into future planning and developments on island by doing the following: (1) bring together voices that may not otherwise feed into public consultations, specifically on sustainable development; (2) create a biodiversity and human-well-being toolkit for the community, physical planners and developers; (3) monitor and evaluate outcomes for biodiversity and human well-being; (4) share outcomes with other UKOTs via existing knowledge-sharing networks.
Project Activities and Updates