DPLUS154: Sustainable management planning for St Helena's National Conservation Areas

PROJECT OVERVIEW

St Helena’s iconic, and highly endemic biodiversity is of international importance. The Island’s ‘nature’ National Conservation Areas (NCA) cover 38% of the island, helping to protect the 502 endemics and 38 globally threatened native species. Each NCA is required to have a management plan to finalise its recognition as a legally protected area; these should consider the competing types of land use and provide a comprehensive and structured approach to planning when considering environmental priorities and development.

There are 13 NCAs on St Helena which are yet to have a formalised management plan. The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), is leading a Darwin Plus project in partnership with the St Helena Government (SHG) and SAERI (Falklands) Limited (SFL), to develop the sustainable-use NCA Management Plans for SHG, as well as ways to monitor their effectiveness. DPLUS154 funding is provided by the UK Government’s Darwin Plus funding scheme.

The NCAs have great importance to the people of St Helena, and therefore the project will actively involve local community members, businesses and landowners, in and around the NCAs to help develop the management options for sustainable land-use and set out the pathway to achieve positive outcomes for St Helena’s natural heritage.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

Develop management plans and governance arrangements for the remaining 13 NCAs and submit to St Helena Government for adoption and legal endorsement.
Build the capacity to undertake future reviews of management plans, determine the effectiveness of NCAs and intervene where necessary.
Engage with stakeholders to increase awareness and understanding of the benefits of sustainable managed NCAs and maximise buy-in during development of the management plans.

Project Manager

THOMAS KITCHING

Tom is a keen naturalist and dedicated conservation worker, having worked on biodiversity-focussed projects across different biogeographic regions of Europe, Africa and Central/North America. Much of his career has been spent working for conservation charities with a focus on terrestrial mammals, particularly bats. Most recently, Tom has been responsible for managing some of the UK’s most important protected areas for rare bats and coordinating an extensive volunteer-led monitoring programme.
Tom has a BSc in Biological Sciences from Manchester Metropolitan University and MRes in Biodiversity and Conservation from the University of Leeds. He joined SAERI in May 2023 and will be working on sustainable management of the National Conservation Areas in St Helena.

PROJECT FUNDING AND PARTNERS:

This Project is funded by the UK Government through the Darwin Plus Fund

Darwin Plus Project 154

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