UNESCO, St. Mary's Biosphere. St. Kitts
SKN ST. MARY'S BIOSPHERE RESERVE
 ABOUT MAB

Promote research, monitoring, education and training
(Logistic Support for Sustainable Development Locally - Demonstration Projects/Environmental Education and Training/Research )

There is secure and robust logistical support for activities within the SMBR. This is strengthened by existing governmental, NGO, and community commitments that have already expressed their commitment to the SMBR nomination process. There are several permanent research stations in St. Kitts near the SMBR that are directed toward the understanding and stewardship of natural and cultural resources on island. By extension, these stations are relevant to management and study of the area. Although there is no permanent, formal research station within the SMBR, St. Kitts is a small island nation and all official research stations of GoSKN departments and various NGOs are located less than one hour drive from the reserve by automobile. In addition, the Department of Fisheries recently purchased a fully-equipped research vessel that has the capability to conduct a wide range of studies in the waters of the marine portion of the reserve. The St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network (SKSTMN) is planning to establish a formal ecotour/nature station in the Buffer Zone of the SMBR.  Non-governmental research stations related to fauna of the SMBR include the facilities of the sea turtle program housed at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Research and monitoring programmes within the proposed reserve are being conducted by several scientists with attention to management concerns. To date, most research activities have focused on the marine and coastal Core Zone with particular emphasis on sea turtle ecology. The majority of this work is conducted under the auspices of the SKSTMN through funding from a GEF- SGP grant. The SKSTMN also works closely with local fishermen and local citizens of St. Kitts.  All full-time technicians are local fishermen and over half of the volunteer base is composed of local individuals. Also, a wide range of other natural and social scientific studies include the SMBR as part of larger, island-wide studies. The “Management Plan for Central Forest Reserve National Park” is an example of a larger study that guides research toward management concerns in the mountain Core Zone (OPAAL, 2008). It is expected by the proponents of the biosphere reserve that current turtle research and monitoring will be strengthened and that future studies of the terrestrial Core and Buffer Zones will be designed to align with existing national directives to address management issues.

Education for sustainable development already exists in the communities of the proposed reserve. Schools within the SMBR include environmental education and other aspects of education for sustainable development within the curriculum. The specific topical content encourages children to protect and learn from their natural environment. Local schools are also engaged in the community outreach programs of the SKSTMN. Environmental education of school age children would be strengthened by the existence of a biosphere reserve and the subsequent inclusion of topical information related to it.

The public outreach portion of the SKSTMN Project is broad based and has programs tailored to local children and adults, tourists, resort owners, and developers. Workshops on sea turtle health have been held during which fisheries officers, local community members, and veterinarians from over 10 different countries have been trained on the program.  Due to the involvement of GoSKN, NGO, and institutional representatives with research on-island and in the SMBR, specialist training is provided to researchers and community members by affiliated organizations. Local technicians are trained extensively in management procedures and public education for sustainable development.  In some cases through the SKSTMN local members are sent to other programs to receive further training.

 Sustainable Development on a Regional Scale.

The SMBR already presents the opportunity to serve as a model for sustainable development in the region. The reserve contains a network of integrated communities within a diverse coastal and tropical landscape mosaic. This situation offers a variety of opportunities to conduct multi-scale, exploratory studies and initiatives that resonate with other parts of St. Kitts, St. Kitts and Nevis, and other islands throughout the Caribbean Region. In fact, the SMBR contains many habitats and features of international concern such as coral reef and migratory bird, reptile, and fish species that could foster multinational partnerships and opportunities for local communities to interact with communities facing similar challenges worldwide.

Community members within the SMBR are recognized as being innovators in new land use and organizational arrangements such as starting agricultural cooperatives, succeeding with experimental horticulture, and engaging all demographics in sea turtle monitoring and related environmental education. This track record indicates a promising trajectory toward innovative and flourishing endeavours that are already adopted as models throughout the island. It also shows how collaboration is possible among the efforts of NGOs, the public sector, and the private sector.

The cultural heritage of the reserve ties local communities to past and present land use regimes through a historical legacy. The combination of natural and culturally significant features that are connected to local villages is a growing potential for income generation in the SMBR through appropriate tourism forms such as geotourism, ecotourism, and heritage tourism.  The cultural history of the reserve is currently studied as a critical area for research on the multiethnic evolution of the island, colonial and post colonial social relations, and historical land use systems. Additionally, the SMBR is host to the largest community festival in St. Kitts, the Green Valley Festival, which celebrates local culture. The growth of domestic and international tourism, the richness of the SMBR resources, and the close proximity of the reserve to tourist sources of ports and airports on the island indicate the potential for benefitting people of the SMBR.

The ecological and human diversity in the reserve leads to management challenges that also would provide an opportunity to showcase the appropriate treatment of a range of issues. The positive resolution of issues such as enforcement of development regulations, application of land use law, community monitoring of solid waste management, and control of illegal mining, for example, would serve as exemplary cases for the nation. Indeed, these topics are currently under discussion and review by government authorities, village councils, and other interested stakeholders. Designation of the reserve would prompt appropriate responses to these issues and raise community awareness to the social and environmental consequences of the actions.

COOPERATION PLAN AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

Programmes for Research, Monitoring, Education and Training.

Logistical support for activities within the SMBR is strengthened by existing governmental, NGO, and community commitments and expressions of support for the SMBR nomination process. There are several permanent research stations in St. Kitts near the SMBR that are directed toward the understanding and stewardship of natural and cultural resources on island. By extension, these stations are relevant to management and study of the area. Although there is no permanent, formal research station within the SMBR, St. Kitts is a small island nation and all official research stations of GoSKN departments and various NGOs are located less than one hour drive from the reserve by automobile. In addition, the Department of Fisheries recently allocated funds for the purchase of a fully-equipped research vessel that has the capability to conduct a wide range of studies in the waters of the marine portion of the reserve. The St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network is planning to establish a formal ecotour/nature station in the Buffer Zone of the SMBR.  Non-governmental research stations related to fauna of the SMBR include the facilities of the sea turtle program housed at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Research and monitoring programmes within the proposed reserve are being conducted by several scientists with attention to management concerns. To date, most research activities have focused on the marine and coastal Core Area with particular emphasis on sea turtle ecology. The majority of this work is conducted under the auspices of the SKSTMN through funding from a GEF- SGP grant. The SKSTMN also works closely with local fishermen and local citizens of St. Kitts.  Also, a wide range of other natural and social scientific studies include the SMBR as part of larger, island-wide studies. The “Management Plan for Central Forest Reserve National Park” is an example of a larger study that guides research toward management concerns in the mountain Core Zone (OPAAL, 2008).

Education for sustainable development already exists in the communities of the proposed reserve. Schools within the SMBR include environmental education and other aspects of education for sustainable development within the curriculum. Local schools are also engaged in the community outreach programs of the SKSTMN. The public outreach portion of the SKSTMN Project is broad based and has programs tailored to local children and adults, tourists, resort owners, and developers. Workshops on sea turtle health have been held during which fisheries officers, local community members, and veterinarians from over 10 different countries have been trained on the program.  Local technicians are trained extensively in management procedures and public education for sustainable development.

 





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