Reforestation efforts and Coralita management can reinforce one another, and we should have a Coralita-free buffer below Signal Hill. All attendees at the meeting organised by Elizabeth and me and facilitated by CNSI agreed on these matters. The 30th of October, we had the pleasure to discuss with the deputy government commissioner, Stenapa and LVV our insights into Coralita so far and give short and long term recommendations for management. Read the highlights here!
It's already been a month since Elizabeth and I were on Saba to participate in one of our favourite events of the year: Sea & Learn! Pictures of our activities were distributed via Facebook, so have a look at us crafting Elephant ear umbrella's. We also had the chance to meet with the Governor, Island Council and SCF, to relay our recommendations for Coralita management on Saba. Read up on this here, and check out the maps with Sabans' favourite areas!
The spread of invasive species globally has had acknowledged impacts on species extinction, biodiversity and ecosystem services, but what is the impact of Coralita on Saba and Statia? In his thesis, Luke Sweeney, dives into databases with known impacts, compares vegetation types and looks at species distributions to get a first feel for Coralita's impacts.
Judit Planas i Puig finalised her master's thesis for which she conducted fieldwork on Saba from March until June this year. Her research was triggered by the observation that Coralita grows mostly in areas where there is plain sunlight. Judit wanted to test this observation in a controlled setting: how does Coralita grow and germinate in shady conditions? Read her thesis here!
Were you unable to attend our presentation last week, but curious how Judit's experiment turned out? Or what Elizabeth is up to with her satellite imagery? And who's been watering the lemon trees in St. John's? Read this brief update, and contact us if you have any questions!
Oh no! The goats ate one of the lemon trees! Or that’s what it looks like on the picture, with the fence undone and the seedling nowhere to be found. The goats are the usual suspects when it comes to vanished vegetation, and the prolonged dry period on Saba has made them even more devastating than usual. Very sad for the little tree, and the facebook post reaps many frustrated comments from Sabans. I imagine Raymond's frustration, who waters them diligently everyday, when finding this one morning. And I am definitely disappointed myself as well. But from a research perspective the project just took an interesting turn: devoured lemon trees are interesting data!
Irma is record-breaking all round, did enormous damage to islands in the Caribbean, and has at the time of writing just cut-off 4 million people from electricity in Florida. Hurricanes turn everything on its head; metaphorically, but also painfully literally. My fieldwork area, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba, was hit by Irma in the night of Tuesday 5th to Wednesday 6th of September, and images of upside-down cars and torn down houses flooded the media.
Back in 2016, I arrived in Statia, aka The Golden Rock, aka The historic gem of the Caribbean. And today the time has come to pack up the suitcase that has contained my life for the past four months, and head back to Holland.
Two months on Saba have flown by: interviewing people, being toured around gardens, getting a peek of local politics and becoming more and more attached to the quirks of Saba's nature and people. Since it will take a long time before our research will really have an impact on Saba, I didn’t want to leave the island without leaving something behind.
Jetske Vaas (1990) started her PhD in March 2015. She works on the governance of invasive plant species in the Dutch Caribbean, for which the management of goats might prove to be pivotal.