Plan for Biodiversity Management and Sustainable Development around Turks & Caicos Ramsar Site
The Turks & Caicos Islands are rich in environmental and historic treasures on which a thriving tourism business is being built, but we must find a way to continue to build the industry without destroying the resources on which it is based. This plan, which covers the Ramsar Convention Wetland of International Importance in North, Middle and East Caicos with adjacent areas, lays out some aspects of an approach to develop an appropriate-scale eco-tourism industry which will preserve both the environmental resources and the human communities which have lived there for the last two centuries. This plan results from a joint project between the local communities, the Turks and Caicos National Trust, the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum, and one of the Forum's member organisations, CABI Bioscience.

The work was carried out under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government, and with financial support from UK Government and others. The purpose is to provide means by which the internationally important biodiversity and cultural heritage of the Caicos Islands can be treasured by local people and experienced by visitors, without damage.

The plan works through wide-ranging co-operative action with the local people, local Government and other institutional stakeholders, and deploys biodiversity and other heritage information for the long-term benefit of the Islands and their inhabitants. This will enable the local people to protect the area by generating sustainable usage involving eco-tourism-based activities, as well as education. This will be accomplished through:

  1. this shared, regularly reviewed management plan;
  2. trained local personnel working as wardens, guides and educators; and
  3. integrated programmes to develop tourism resources such as trails, hides, an eco-centre, displays, courses, booklets etc.

Implementation of this plan would fulfil many of the UK & TCI Government commitments under the Ramsar Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Environmental Charter. The wishes of the local community have been sought and integrated throughout the development of this plan; this will continue in the implementation phase. The central theme which came out in every community meeting was sustainable management and the conservation of environmental resources in a way that enhances the lives of the people living there, and that is what implementation of this plan will achieve. The plan is built on a modular basis, so that implementation can progress as resources are secured.

The plan is available here as pdf files. It is divided into: Contents and Summary (443 kb) and four main parts:

  1. an introduction; (in the same file as:)

  2. a detailed description of what the site contains in terms of flora, fauna, geology, etc, which will serve as a baseline against which to measure change in future (256 kb);

  3. an assessment of the most significant elements of the site and the features which provide opportunities for meeting the plan's objectives (136 kb);

  4. the actual management plan which lays out all the activities and projects which will be employed in managing this site (443 kb)

together with supporting Appendices (443 kb).

The UKOTCF is a Registered Charity (1058483) - keen to develop partnerships with business or commercial organisations