The recreational and cultural value of nature on St Eustatius (policy brief)
Sint Eustatius, or as the local population calls it, Statia, has beautiful dive spots,
a rich historical and archaeological heritage and a national park with ecosystems that are used for local recreational and cultural value. However, the small size
and fragility of the islands ecosystems make it vulnerable to disturbances that are caused by human activities. In order to respond effectively to these threats and develop St Eustatius in an equitable and sustainable way, it is vital to determine the value of nature to its residents.
By researching the Willingnes-To-Pay (WTP) of the residents of St Eustatius for nature conservation, the importance of nature for the population is quanti ed. A survey was conducted in order to determine the value that households attribute to the protection of speci c aspects of nature on their island. Around 400 households on St Eustatius participated in this valuation survey, and respondents re ected on various issues such as the main threats to nature, the bene ts that the natural environment brings, and their usage of the local ecosystems.
Results & Recommendations
The WTP by the 1,200 Statian households to maintain the quality of marine and terrestrial ecosystems is $200,000 per year. Approximately half of the households are in principle willing to pay for nature management. The management of free roaming livestock is strongly supported by the local population. Furthermore, residents identi ed oil spills, solid waste and car wrecks as the most important perceived threats. Strengthening the resilience of ecosystems will support economic development and the wellbeing of its residents in the long run. Raising awareness about threats to ecosystems is key in order to successfully implement nature management strategies on the island that will be supported by the local population.