park update

Exciting New Nature Conservation Projects for STENAPA in 2022

From cutting edge 3D models to innovative management techniques, 2022 poses to be an exciting year for St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA). STENAPA recently highlighted the successes and struggles of 2021 and gave a first look at the exciting new projects for the upcoming year in their presentation at the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) board meeting held on St. Maarten. 


Director Erik Boman presenting an update on STENAPA’s successes and challenges at the DCNA Board meeting.

STENAPA has had a number of exciting success stories throughout last year. An updated nature ordinance is under review which will if passed enhance protection of trees, habitats and species as well as ensure a better protection of local fishing grounds. In addition, improvements in water catchment area management sets an important foundation for a reduction of sedimentation into the marine environment. 


2021 has also had its fair share of challenges. The continued influx of the invasive species green iguanas and the occurrence of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) both raised environmental concerns for the island. Coupled with loss of vegetation from unsustainable and unregulated development and overgrazing by free roaming animals could threaten the overall biodiversity both above and below the waterline. An important step in properly managing these issues is to increase awareness as well as create a legal framework and insure effective enforcement of the island’s rules. However, simultaneously a development of areas such as the agriculture sector is also vital and necessary in tackling the issue with vegetation loss. 

Focus for 2022

DCNA Board meeting: from left to right: Nature Foundation St Maarten Board member Rikke Bachmann-Speetjens, Nature Foundation St Maarten Manager Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern, His Excellency Governor Holiday of Sint Maarten, DCNA Chair Hellen van der Wal, DCNA Director Tadzio Bervoets, St. Eustatius Island Commissioner Lady Francis, STENAPA Director Erik Boman, DCNA Patron Jaime Saleh.

Looking forward to the new year, there are lots of exciting milestones on the horizon. STENAPA is looking to contribute to the  passing of updated nature legislation for both the marine and terrestrial parks. In addition, implementation of the Nature and Environmental Policy Plan for the BES islands aims to improve overall monitoring, conservation, and restoration efforts for both species and habitats across the island.

Effective management will require improved survey techniques, data collection and overall enforcement.  STENAPA now has the capacity to generate high resolution imagery. This capability will allow them to inspect, survey and analyze large areas of the island to a high degree of detail than was previously possible using satellite imagery.

Using 3D models and maps will then allow management authorities the ability to conduct surveys and perform analytics within the model itself. This is not only far more accurate than traditional methods, but also saves a lot of time and money in the long run. Some interesting implications could allow for more accurate road surveys, detection of changes in landscaping and vegetation biomass or improving overall understanding of waterflow over the island.

Working Together

The DCNA board meeting is an important opportunity for each of the Protected Area Management Organizations in the Dutch Caribbean- – the Aruba National Parks Foundation (FPNA)STINAPA BonaireCarmabi Curaçao Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF)Nature Foundation St. Maarten (NFSXM), St. Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA) – to collaborate, share resources and exchange information and ideas. Working together, each island can learn from the others, maximizing their successes and learning from the more challenging experiences. Also attending the DCNA Board Meeting was St. Eustatius Island Commissioner Lady Francis who applauded STENAPA and the wider DCNA Network for their efforts in Nature Conservation.

DCNA Board meeting including representatives of the DCNA Board, Protected Area Management Organizations in the Dutch Caribbean (including STENAPA St Eustatius), Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-NL), Caribbean Cetacean Society, St. Eustatius Island Commissioner Lady Francis and His Excellency Governor Holiday of Sint Maarten.


Article published in Special Edition BioNews: 2022 Park Updates

Data type
Other resources
Education and outreach
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
St. Eustatius

The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance will discuss three critical topics at the upcoming DCNA Convention

Kralendijk – The upcoming convention of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) will focus on governance, climate change, and youth engagement in nature conservation. All six Protected Area Management Organizations of the Dutch Caribbean are joining forces to strengthen strategic nature management policies for the coming years. The Patron of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance, Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, will also attend the Convention, which will take place in Curaçao from Tuesday, November 23 to Friday, November 27.

Princess Beatrix meets Tadzio Bervoets, the Director of DCNA, in Saba. Photo credit: Lincoln Charles


Governance in times of recovery

The significant disruptions caused by the pandemic have reminded us that our ecosystems are critical to our success as small island developing states. Further development in these challenging times should be sustainable, with the aim to conserve the biodiversity of the islands, which supports the unique tourism product of the Dutch Caribbean.

One of the highlights of convention will be the board meeting, which will be held in-person for the first time after almost two years of virtual engagements. Tadzio Bervoets, Director of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance said that “even though we are convinced that we can achieve more by joining forces, we realize that governance is equally important, which is why our board meeting will address our governance structure and our strategic vision for the time to come.”

Climate change

The Dutch Caribbean islands are now emerging from the effects of the pandemic. However, the Caribbean region is also experiencing another crisis that will have significant negative impact on the ecosystems that are critical to the sustainable economies that the islands need to build. One of the workshops at the Convention will focus on climate change resiliency. This topic could not be timelier, considering the renewed commitment of global leaders to keep the global average temperature increase below 2° Celsius. DCNA’s chairlady, Hellen van der Wall noted that “we in the Caribbean are at the frontlines of the climate change crises and it is only through using the goods and services our nature provides us that we can become resilient as Dutch Caribbean societies.” The workshop will highlight a pilot project that seeks to analyze and understand the impact of climate change on marine protected areas in Indonesia and the Caribbean. The long-term goal of the pilot is to set up a larger research program that will help to develop responses to the dynamic consequences of climate change.

Youth engagement

Sustainability is about meeting current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. With this understanding, the youth are considered crucial stakeholders in DCNA’s work. Since 2019, DCNA Conventions have included a youth symposium that provides platforms for youth to share their views. Their inputs have proven valuable over the years and have led to the creation of youth nature programs. This year’s symposium will also feature key conversations focused on the importance of investing in nature education in order to create ownership of natural areas. Even though the next generation of young environmental stewards seem to be naturally inclined to practice responsible use of the available natural resources, it is imperative to provide them with the necessary tools at a young age.

More information about the DCNA Convention can be found on the DCNA’s Facebook page: DutchCaribbeanNatureAlliance.


Article published in Special Edition BioNews: 2021 DCNA Convention

Data type
Education and outreach
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Saba bank
St. Eustatius
St. Maarten