SARA, Safeguarding, Restoration and Adaptation of Seabird Colonies and Associated Ecosystem Services
Safeguarding, Restoration and Adaptation of Seabird Colonies and Associated Ecosystem Services (SARA)
Amount of funding:
€ 160, 797
Type of NbS:
Management / Protection of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems - Restoration / Rehabilitation of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems
Risk reduction - Biodiversity conservation
The aim of this project is to contribute to the sustainable preservation of the low-lying coral islands of the North West Lagoon (NW IBA, 17 islets) and associated ecosystem services by safeguarding and restoring the seabird colonies. By making the colonies more robust, limiting disturbance and restoring the breeding habitat, the project will optimise the carrying capacity of the NW IBA and thus compensate for the deleterious effects that these ecosystems and colonies will experience due to climate change. The project will thus contribute to increasing the resilience of seabird colonies to the consequences of climate change (risk of submersion) and other elements of global change (invasions, excessive visitation) and thus to maintaining the ecosystem services associated with the presence of seabird colonies.
The objective of the project is to protect and improve the carrying capacity by the end of 2024 of 17 coral islands (from 0.5 to 15 ha; total surface: 74 ha) distributed within a marine area of 1240 km² each hosting seabird colonies (a total of 11-13 breeding species, for 30-35,000 breeding pairs). This will be achieved by using proven social stimulation (attractant) devices, combating invasive animal and plant species, and improving the management and organisation of visits by users.
It also aims to build capacity within the North Province and other provinces and agencies in New Caledonia to implement Nature-based Solutions (NBS) for low-lying coral islands and seabird colony restoration. This will result, by the end of 2024, in capacity building with respect to implementing Nature-based Solutions for 6 managers at the Northern Province, 8 managers from outside the Northern Province and more than 10 volunteers from Bird Conservation New Caledonia (BCNC) and the local association Nixumwâk Environnement. Initially at 1 site (NW IBA) it will potentially expand to at least 5 different sites within 5 years of the SARA project.
Finally, the project will improve education and awareness, among different public audiences, of the issues addressed by the project (fragility of islets and seabirds, Nature-based Solutions, adaptation to climate change). By the end of 2024, the project will have reached, via the various communication channels to be established, more than 500 users of the north-western lagoon, 500 schoolchildren and college students from the 4 communes affected by the IBA, more than 5000 other inhabitants of New Caledonia, in particular users of coasts and lagoons, and more than 100 professionals working in the marine environment.
The objective of the project?
- Objective 1: To increase knowledge among populations of the ecology of seabirds and the ecosystem services they provide and to encourage the rational use of the islets in the area.
- Objective 2: To improve the technical level of community officers in the project area and beyond.
- Objective 3: To stabilise the islets used by local populations (food, recreational, cultural uses).
Reduction of gender discriminations
The project aims to introduce no measures or operational arrangements that could create gender inequality. Two important civil society stakeholders involved in the project are associations headed by women. The working teams will systematically comprise a mix of men and women.
The islets surrounding the 'Grande Terre' (mainland) are mostly coral and/or sandy formations: this configuration makes them particularly vulnerable to weather hazards. Unfortunately, climate change is increasing the frequency and/or intensity of violent weather events combined with a rise in sea level. As they are relatively far from the mouths of the rivers, no soil inputs can reinforce their structure. With no large fauna, only the presence of thriving seabird colonies provides the fragile sandy-coral islets with stabilising organic matter (guano). This is not only beneficial to soil fixation and vegetation on the islet, but also to the development of submerged corals around it, as shown by IRD research. With their calcareous structures, they constitute a source of materials as well as protection.