Mapping for policy, recovery and resilience

Darwin Plus, sometimes referred to as the Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund, is open to any organisations that wish to embark on a project which will benefit one or more of the British Overseas Territories by protecting and enhancing their biodiversity or addressing wider environment or climate-related issues.

This project is the result of a joint bid by Environment Systems, The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), National Parks Trust of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).

The project will provide evidence to develop policy to aid post-hurricane environmental recovery and enhance future resilience to natural disasters. It will use satellite data to map and model the marine and terrestrial environment in the TCI and BVI, both before and after hurricanes Maria and Irma which caused so much devastation in 2017.

The project will share experience and learning to develop both island groups’ expertise in relevant techniques and be integrated closely with other UK Government supported projects in the BVI and TCI.

The Turks & Caicos – this low mainly flat limestone island group has extensive marshes and mangrove swamps and over 128 square miles of beach front
Ecosystem goods and services, derived from biodiversity, are crucial to the islands’ economies, supporting tourism, food provision and providing protection against the effects of extreme weather events. The natural environment is susceptible to damage from both human activities and natural disasters such as hurricane-generated storm surges and flooding. The importance of protecting these natural assets has been brought into sharp focus by the recent hurricane damage and the impact on the islands’ economies.

A major part of this project will focus on building resilience. This will be achieved by building the capacity of the island governments to use remote sensing outputs to undertake detailed mapping of terrestrial and marine environments themselves, both to evaluate hurricane impacts and highlight opportunities for habitat restoration. Three workshops will be held in the islands, with a further workshop programmed to take place in our head office. The project will run until early 2020.