13 August 2018
DARWIN PLUS PROJECT COMPLETED
The Environment & Natural Resources Directorate (ENRD) has recently completed a two-year long Darwin Plus funded project entitled ‘Mapping St Helena’s Biodiversity and Natural Environment (DPLUS052)’, working with project partners Environment Systems Limited, Aberystwyth University and the South Atlantic Environment Research Institute (SAERI).
This project produced a series of high-detail Island-wide maps and datasets, showing a baseline of habitat types, soils, and other associated environmental information. Its purpose is to support Island conservation and future management activities by helping to understand biodiversity, species geographic distribution & dynamic (particularly endemic), protect & restore native habitats, control invasive species, aid sustainable agriculture, aid land resource planning as well as water resource management.
ENRD Director & Project Lead, Derek Henry, said:
“This exciting project has resulted in a detailed set of maps and datasets for the Island which will aid its future development. This resource will provide support for conservation and land resource planning. I am grateful for the contributions of all who have been involved in making this project a success.”
These maps and dataset outputs were derived from a combination of analysis of multi-spectral satellite imagery, ground-truthing field work, and analysis of relevant historical and current datasets available. Additionally, training was provided to local stakeholders in order for this data to be updated over time, via a ‘living map’. Training included an introduction to remote sensing and how environmental data is derived, field work methodology & data collection, and mapping techniques. The data is made available for any organisation involved in decision-making to do with land and species management.
Outputs from the project, including a link to a web map of the output data, can be found on the SHG website at: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/dplus052-mapping-st-helenas-biodiversity-and-natural-environment/.
Project Manager, Samantha Cherrett, added:
“It’s fantastic to see the outputs of this project, and the feedback from people on the potential use for decision-making has been great. The output maps are a great baseline for some of the environmental conditions on St Helena and can be used for planning, development, and resource management, in the future. Creating them has had its challenges and we have learnt a lot about our changing habitats and the soil conditions here.
“I would like to thank Elizabeth Cairns-Wicks and our project partners for their expertise and hard work on the project. I would also like to thank everyone within SHG, particularly ENRD, as well as the Landscape & Ecology Mitigation Programme (LEMP), Saint Helena National Trust (SHNT), St Helena Nature Conservation Group (SNCG), Connect Saint Helena Ltd, and independent contributors who have contributed in time, knowledge and expertise during the project.”
Environment Director at Environment System Ltd, Dr Katie Medcalf, commented:
“It has been a great pleasure working on this project and mapping this extraordinary Island’s soils and habitats. We hope the resources will support land management actions, policy decisions, and resource planning, helping ensure the Island’s sustainable development whilst retaining its ecological resilience into the future.”
Project Manager & GIS Specialist at SAERI, Dr iLaria Marengo, concluded:
“SAERI has been delighted to work alongside SHG to set up a system that not only takes care of the management of the data generated by the project but also allows their dissemination to the wider public through a web GIS service. Making such useful data secure and accessible is a great achievement and evidence of how data are considered valuable by government.”
#StHelena #ENRD #DarwinPlus #DPLUS052
13 August 2018