Biodiversity in French outermost regions (territory in areas remote from Europe) is unique globally and exceptional at European level. However, it is seriously threatened in five such regions - French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte, La Réunion and Saint-Martin. The main pressures include: population growth on the small islands (La Réunion, Martinique, Mayotte and Saint-Martin); urban, forestry and mining development in French Guiana; and mass tourism. Changing climatic conditions and invasive alien species (IAS) are other important factors affecting populations of local species.
Biodiversity in these outermost regions does not benefit from tools of the Birds and Habitats directives such as the Natura 2000 network. Some tropical habitats are also difficult to access, further complicating nature protection in these areas. Innovative protection measures must therefore be established to slow down biodiversity loss in these regions.
LIFE BIODIV'OM aims to develop and implement innovative, effective and sustainable methods to deal with the dramatic loss of fauna, flora and natural habitats in French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte, La Réunion and Saint-Martin.
More specifically, the project seeks to: Increase the population of five globally threatened species: the Reunion cuckooshrike (Coracina newtoni) on Reunion Island, the Madagascar pond heron (Ardeola idea) on Mayotte, the Atlantic goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara) in French Guiana and on Saint-Martin, the Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) on Saint-Martin, and the white-breasted thrasher (Ramphocinclus brachyurus) on Martinique; Improve the conservation status of important habitats and sites hosting species that are threatened at European level by controlling IAS and by protecting the sites.
Expected results: Increase of C. newtoni population to 35 pairs due to IAS control and translocation actions; 150 new fledglings of A. idae thanks to management and protection measures (e.g. setting up strict protection areas); 30% fledging success in the R. brachyurus distribution area following a concerted action plan; Decrease in the capture of E. itajara and E. striatus in two outermost regions by enforcing fishing regulations, including these species in a fishing control plan and extending prefectoral decrees; Control of IAS in one site for C. newtoni (covering 300 ha) and three sites for A. idea (almost 50 ha); Eradication of Acacia mangium trees on 50-70% of the savannas of French Guiana (around 13 000-18 000 ha), including 100% of protected areas. One method for eradicating broad-leaved paperbark trees (Melaleuca quinquenervia) to be approved; Creation of an ecological corridor to connect existing population nuclei of R. brachyurus; Workshops with local stakeholders on restoring important sites for A. idea and setting up agri-environmental schemes; Workshops to establish a programme for controlling two IAS on the savannas of French Guiana and to draw up a list of local species (at least 10) suitable as replacements for A. mangium; Workshops with professional and recreational fishermen to encourage better management of E. itajara and E. striatus and to promote good fishing practices (reaching 50% of professional fishermen in French Guiana and 10% of recreational fishermen in two outermost regions); Workshops with fishermen and farmers to implement an action plan for R. brachyurus and change the practices of at least 10% of fishermen; Organisation of volunteer patrols to continue controlling IAS (15 for C. newtoni and one for R. brachyurus) and reduce the cost of rat control; Establish (for Saint-Martin and Mayotte) or upgrade (for French Guiana, Martinique and La Réunion) five online databases.