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HomeLifeRevitalizing Caribbean Coral Reefs: Reforestation Project Aims to Protect Ecosystems

Revitalizing Caribbean Coral Reefs: Reforestation Project Aims to Protect Ecosystems

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  • Aims to protect and rejuvenate coral reefs surrounding St. Eustatius and Saba
  • Project involves reforestation to reduce erosion and safeguard near-shore coral ecosystems
  • Funded by the European Union as part of a broader sustainable development program

The major new environmental project has a long name: Healthy and Resilient Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Through Reforestation of St Eustatius and Saba. The goal though is short and to the point. That is, to save the coral reefs surrounding these two Netherlands Antilles islands. The plan is to reduce erosion and safeguard the near-shore coral reef ecosystems by reforesting areas stripped bare of vegetation due to land erosion caused by heavy rainfall. This reforestation will in turn slow and redirect water into below-ground aquifers in the denuded areas. It will also restrict the release of sediment onto surrounding coral reefs. 

“This will improve the ecosystem services, biodiversity, and economic resilience of Statia and Saba,” says Anthony Reid, Statia’s director of economy, nature, and infrastructure (ENI).

The over US $700,000 project is funded by the European Union, through its 11th European Development Fund program, an aid package for African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries and overseas countries and territories (OCTs). The Dutch Caribbean islands’ undertaking falls under the Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Program, a 69-month endeavor that began in 2019 to support the sustainable human development efforts of the 12 Caribbean OCTs, namely: Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Statia, St. Maarten, and St. Barths. www.statiagovernment.com 

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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.
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