A new protected area system for St Helena

Protected Area Systems are in the limelight again: this time in St Helena.  As a part of the island's statutory physical planning obligations, and in the run-up to the opening of the island's first airport in 2016, in 2011/12 Nautilus undertook a DFID contract to assist in the designation of a Protected Area System for the island that complies with island and UK international commitments, whilst also complementing the sustainable economic and social development of the island and its incipient tourism economy. Site designation draws on best available information, good science, and extensive public consultation, drawing on the depth of local knowledge of the island environment.

Protected areasThe intention of designation is that it protects the unique natural and historical features that make the island so special, designs and builds coherent protected area management systems that open and positively encourage public access to most sites, and encourages locals and visitors to enjoy and protect the island environment, and to enhance visitor experience.

A key element of the work will be to align the designation and management of the protected area system with the emerging island Land Development Control Plan (LDCP), taking into consideration the increased pressure for development land in the run-up to construction and installation of the island’s first airport facility.

The work will be undertaken by Rob Wild, an experienced protected area specialist who has previously headed up community engagement and protected area work in the Caribbean and East Africa. He is an active member of the World Commission on Protected Areas, and currently Chair of the Specialist Group on the Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas. Rob will visit the island over October and November 2011. Environmental valuation and associated planning support work will be provided by Crick Carleton back in head office. Crick is familiar with the island, based on a year’s residence on the island way back in the distant past, and a more recent short visit to the island in 2009.