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Darwin Initiative Assessment of the Coastal Biodiversity of Anegada, British Virgin Islands - COMPLETED (2006)

Assessing the coastal biodiversity of Anegada to support the development of a Biodiversity Action Plan for the island

Inflorescence of the Critically Endangered endemic tree, Acacia anegadensis (Leguminosae)
Photo: Colin Clubbe

Anegada, one of the largest unspoilt islands in the Caribbean (area: 32km2; coastline 48.3 km; population 250), is under extreme development pressure. It hosts a globally important coral reef system (area greater than 60 km2), and regionally significant nesting and foraging populations of threatened marine turtles, is of regional importance to birds and supports globally important endemic plants. The main objective of this highly collaborative three year project was to carry out a detailed assessment of the coastal biodiversity of Anegada leading to a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP - Annex 1) and the creation of the capacity for its implementation. The project outputs also assisted the British Virgin Islands (BVI) to meet its commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity and to implement the targets of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.

Major achievements of the project were:

  • Integrated scientific documentation and monitoring of three important taxa (marine turtles, plants and birds);
  • Institutional strengthening and capacity building;
  • Environmental awareness for the general public and key stakeholder groups.

Major botanical outputs of this project were:

  • The development of a vegetation map and characterisation of the constituent plant communities on Anegada
  • A conservation checklist and preliminary red-listing assessment of all plant taxa
  • A collecting programme of herbarium specimens of the plants of Anegada and DNA collections for key species and the establishment of a small herbarium facility at the J.R. O'Neal Botanic Garden on Tortola  
  • Continued support for the re-development of the nursery at the J.R. O'Neal Botanic Garden on Tortola to enable the development of an Anegada threatened plants display
  • Establishment of ex situ collections of Anegada's key endemic and threatened species
  • Support for the continued development of botanical skills for National Parks Trust staff by providing training workshops and field experience
  • Provision of training for and starting a seed collecting programme. Seeds are stored in the Millennium Seed Bank. 

Kew produced awareness raising materials including a series of conservation posters (BVI Conservation Poster Series) highlighting key endemic and invasive species and an exhibition Caught in Time at Wakehurst Place as well as two exhibits for the Chelsea Flower Show; Treasured Islands and Message in a Bottle. We also contributed to the regular production of a dedicated project newsletter and articles for local newspapers.

Project partners and collaborators

BVI National Parks Trust
Conservation and Fisheries Departmen, Government of BVI
H. Lavity Stoutt Community College
The Governor’s Office
Marine Turtle Research Group, University of Exeter in Cornwall (Darwin Project lead)
The Open University
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Project funders


The Darwin Initiative - Project No. 162.12/023

Annex material

Published papers

Clubbe, C. (2005). Building capacity and developing botanical infrastructure for conservation: a case study from the British Virgin Islands. BGJournal 2(1), 10-12.

Maunder, M., Leiva, A., Santiago-Valetin, E., Stevenson, D., Acevedo-Rodriguez, P., Meerow, A., Mejia, M., Clubbe, C. & Francisco-Ortega, J. (2008). Plant Conservation in the Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot. The Botanical Review 74, 197-207

Clubbe, C. & Hamilton, M., & Corcoran, M. (2010). Using the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation to Guide Conservation Implementation in the UK Overseas Territories. Kew Bulletin 65: 509-717.

Conference papers and reports

McGowan A., Broderick, A.C., Clubbe, C., Gore, S., Godley, B. J., Hamilton, M., Lettsome, B., Smith-Abbott, J., and Woodfield, N. K. (2006). Darwin Initiative Action Plan
for the Coastal Biodiversity of Anegada
, British Virgin Islands.

Torres-Santana, C.W., Santiago-Valentín, E., Leiva Sánchez, A.T., Peguero, B. & Clubbe, C. (2010). Conservation status of plants in the Caribbean Island Biodiversity Hotspot. Proceedings of the 4th Global Botanic Gardens Congress, June 2010.

Other materials

BVI Conservation Poster Series: Acacia anegadensisMetastelma anegadenseScaevola sericea leaflet, Scaevola sericea poster  

Darwin Anegada Newsletters: Issue 1, Issue 2Issue 3, Issue 5  

Anegada vegetation map