ST HELENA CLOUD FOREST PROJECT UPDATE
Year 2 Funding Secured
Project partners are delighted to announce that funding has been secured to continue the St Helena Cloud Forest Project. This exciting partnership project aims to upscale cloud forest restoration activities for biodiversity, water security and socio-economic benefits on the Island.
The Cloud Forest is situated within the Peaks National Park and holds at least 250 unique species that are found entirely or almost entirely within the Cloud Forest fragments. Habitat loss and pressure from invasive species means this important site, teeming with biodiversity, is under significant threat. The Cloud Forest is also the principal source of our Islands water supply; the majority coming from mist and rainfall recharge within the Peaks. This Project will support our Island to become more drought resistant, mitigating against climate change effects that threaten St Helena’s precious water supply.
The Project is being managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) with local partners including St Helena Government (EMD – Environmental Management Division, Sustainable Development, Education, and St Helena Research Institute), Saint Helena National Trust, Connect Saint Helena Ltd, Met Office and international partners including Arctium, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the University of British Columbia.
In Year 1 of the Project, £900,000 was provided by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). From April 2022 the UK Government has committed £1m for the second year of this long-term restoration project aiming to increase cloud forest habitat by 25% over five years and boost the water supply by a fifth. A further £1.8m for years 3 and 4 has been provisionally agreed.
Peaks National Park logo
The Project partners are also excited to launch a new Peaks National Park logo. In December last year, a competition was held to design a logo that represents the Peaks National Park and supports the efforts and actions of the Peaks Management Plan 2021-2026. With over 20 entries in the competition, Kurt Bowers designed the winning logo, which is already in use on promotional material and will be used to holistically represent the Project and all the partners’ involvement.
Jo Gilbert, Conservation Programmes Director for the RSPB, who provide overall project management, commented:
“Restoration of the St Helena Cloud Forest is important for global biodiversity and is a fantastic example of nature and people living in harmony through the improvements to the water supply that this will bring. The winning submission for the new logo shows clearly the importance of the National Park for its endemic species and also its beauty.”
Successes in Year 1 of the Project
There have been some exciting successes in Year 1 of the Project, from the setting up of a world-class micro propagation laboratory at the EMD Nursery at Scotland (St Helena) to the clearance of invasive species for the reintroduction of native habitat. Early success from the Project came with the renowned spiky yellow woodlouse being identified in newly restored areas of Cloud Forest habitat. Through their surveys, the Saint Helena National Trust has found that in a restored four-year-old corridor, cleared of invasive vegetation and replanted with native species by the EMD Habitats Team, this iconic species, along with other invertebrate indicator species, have moved in. The migration of these native invertebrate species shows the success of habitat restoration techniques, giving an indication of habitat health and the distribution of the species.
Funding confirmation for Year 2 of the Project will ensure this vital work restoring Cloud Forest habitat continues and is increased in scale considerably over the next few years.
The St Helena Cloud Forest Project is a highly collaborative multi-year project working to implement the Peaks Management Plan for St Helena’s ‘Peaks National Park’.
The UK Government provided £900k funding for 2021-2022 (Year 1), with matched funding through project partners and various Darwin Plus projects, taking the total Year 1 funding up to £1.3 million. Funding for Year 2 of £1m has been confirmed from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) with funding of a further £1.8m for years 3 and 4 provisionally agreed.
The Project is managed by the RSPB working with core local partners including St Helena Government (EMD – Environmental Management Division, Sustainable Development, Education, St Helena Research Institute), Saint Helena National Trust, Connect Saint Helena Ltd, Met Office, and international partners including Arctium, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the University of British Columbia.
For more information, please
email: Kirsten.Pritchard@RSPB.org.uk or Colby.Thomas@RSPB.org.uk or visit: https://www.sthelenatourism.com/st-helenas-cloud-forest-project/ or https://www.facebook.com/St-Helena-Peaks-National-Park-101494412559000
St Helena Cloud Forest Project
6 May 2022