Darwin Plus (also known as The Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund) is a UK Government grant fund which is designed to support fellowships and environmental projects in the UK Overseas Territories and supports the delivery of the Government’s 25 Year Environmental Plan. Seventeen projects have been chosen to receive a share of £3.5 million, and Kew and its partners have secured a portion of this funding.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s UK Overseas Territories team, in partnership with the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands (NPTVI) and Fort Worth Zoo, have developed a project entitled “Identifying and conserving resilient habitats in the British Virgin Islands”. The project will survey and map globally threatened plant and animal species and identify forest habitats resilient to natural disasters in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The BVI’s forests provide vital ecosystem services and are home to globally threatened biodiversity. As seen following the devastation of Hurricane Irma, forests play a key role in the resilience of the landscape and its natural resources to destructive events. Building on 20 years of collaboration between Kew, NPTVI and Fort Worth Zoo, this work will enable mitigation against future natural disasters and secure biodiversity into the future.
Kew botanist and Project leader Dr Martin Hamilton says “Our long-term collaborations in the British Virgin Islands have led to the development of this timely and much needed project that will enable us to make meaningful recommendations for species and habitat recovery and management.”