2016 CAREX Expedition

CCT receives Darwin Initiative grant to increase natural biodiversity of Chagos

Breedingcolony_rawThe Chagos Conservation Trust is pleased to announce it has been successful in its application for a Darwin Initiative grant. The 2016 CCT-US expedition scholar will be selected to take part in this project as an invasive plant management specialist.

The “Creating a Terrestrial Action Plan for the Chagos Archipelago” project was masterminded by, and will be led by, CCT trustee Pete Carr and will produce a Chagos Archipelago Terrestrial Action Plan for the British Indian Ocean Territory Administration.

This is an essential step towards the goal of increasing the natural biodiversity on the islands of the archipelago by managing, reducing or eliminating threats such as invasive plants that have a negative effect on the island habitats and species.

The marine environment of Chagos is exceptionally healthy but there are concerns about the ecological health of the islands. Over half of the 55 islands are affected by invasive species, with rats being the greatest problem. In addition, ‘coconut chaos’ affects many islands, whereby unmanaged coconut plantations have become rampant and created a monoculture environment that discourages seabirds to use the islands for nesting.

Darwin-logoThe exciting project will provide the BIOT Administration with vital information that will help with decisions on island conservation management. It involves collaboration with numerous scientists and practical conservationists from several institutions, including the ZSL, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, RSPB and the Species Survival Commission of IUCN.

Later this year a team of experts, in the fields of botany, ornithology, GIS mapping, entomology, as well as mammal eradication and invasive plant management specialists and island restoration ecologists, will travel to the outer islands to conduct a series of assessments.

The success of this application is in part due to the massive contribution made by the major stakeholder in the project, the BIOT Administration. We thank them and the Darwin Initiative for supporting this project.