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Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, Arnova empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, biodiversity and economic development, for the well-being of the citizens of St Kitts and Nevis
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BIODIVERSITY | Why is biodiversity so important?

The concept of biodiversity celebrates the beauty, variety and abundance of life on Earth but it also recognises that every species, no matter how insignificant it may seem, plays a critical role in the finely-tuned balance of life.

Biodiversity includes species, their habitats and the genetic differences between individuals which drive adaptability and evolution. While biodiversity and healthy ecosystems provide for aesthetic, cultural, spiritual and recreational needs of humans, at a basic level, biodiversity is the core requirement for human survival.

There's no more apt description for biodiversity than "web of life." The complex ways in which plants, animals and organisms are linked can be mind-boggling, and we often don't realize the importance of one species to the survival of another until after that balance has been disrupted.

When there are a wide range of plants an animals in a habitat, it is less disruptive if one of them dies out for whatever reason. The remaning species can adapt to the loss and focus on another species for food, shelter, and so on. Imagine if there is only one plant, one herbivore, and one carnivore existing in an ecosystem and one of them were wiped out. If it's the predator, the herbivores would go nuts on the plant and kill it off. If it's the plant, then the herbivores starve and so to do the predators. If it's the herbivore, then the plants go nuts (possibly to the point of self-destruction) and the predators starve. But when there is a wide range of species thriving in an ecosystem, the loss of one is not so dramatic.

Additionally, different species perform different tasks for an ecosystem. Some are the "garbage workers" that clean off sick or injured prey animals -- this actually helps to keep that prey species healthy so that only the best genes are passed on. Other species are the pollinators, such as birds, bats, bees and other insects -- but it is important to note that some species will pollinate certain types of plants but not others. In order for all the plant species to survive, there needs to be a great diversity in pollinators. Having a significant biodiversity in a habitat ensures it functions at tip-top shape.

BIODIVERSITY OF ST KITTS & NEVIS

This Biodiversity Profile is designed to highlight environmental conditions in St.Kitts-Nevis as they pertain to the conservation of terrestrial biological resources on the two islands. As such, this profile can be seen as a thematic refinement and partial updating of the 1990 Country Environmental Profile: St. Kitts and Nevis, by the Caribbean Conservation Association and Island Resources Foundation,which deals with a broader range of natural, historical, cultural, land use, pollution control, and institutional factors.

This Biodiversity Profile is complemented by the concurrently published A Vegetation Classification of St.Kitts and Nevis: Implications for Conservation, which provides a scientifically up-to-date measure of the underlying vegetation communities and associations of the islands. More than these other documents, A Biodiversity Profile of St. Kitts and Nevis is an unfinished and dynamic document which is necessarily incomplete and should be subject to constant revision and updating, expansion and extension. We have
explicitly identified areas where we believe such growth is necessary or desireable, but the framework is open to incorporate all relevant new biodiversity knowledge.

First among these areas for growth of the biodiversity profile is a conservation assessment of the marine and near coastal conditions of St. Kitts-Nevis, with special attention to the reefs, sea grass beds and mangroves of the Sand Point Reef, the Southeast Peninsula, the Narrows and coastal Nevis. These resources are well exploited by local and regional fishers and dive tourism is a significant economic factor on both islands. In this version of the profile, we have only incorporated a small discussion of marine invertebrate species as a place marker for future research findings and to capture the significant elements of certain recent publications pertinent to studies of global and regional marine invertebrate biology.

In many respects the References section of the Profile should be its most valuable resource. As technology evolves, we assume that hypertext linking will enable this document to present both the overview of this profile, and link directly to many of the detailed background documents and scientific studies.

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BIODIVERSITY

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