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The Fourth National Biodiversity Report of The Bahamas to the UNCBD

Source: BEST, 2005a.

Ministry of The Environment

June 2011

Preface

The fourth national report of The Bahamas to the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) is submitted in accordance with the Conference of Parties decision VIII/14. This report has been developed in accordance with the guidance provided in the Reporting Guidelines for the 4th National Report. As requested in the reporting guidelines, the fourth national report is organized around the four main chapters, and includes a separate annex on implementation of the Programme of Work on Protected Areas and Plant Conservation.



The four main chapters are:

Chapter 1: Overview of Biodiversity Status. Trends, Threats

Chapter 2: Current Status of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP)

Chapter 3: Sectoral and Cross-sectoral Integration or Mainstreaming of Biodiversity Considerations

Chapter 4: Conclusions: Progress towards the 2010 Target and Implementation of the Strategic Plan

Appendices

Appendix I: Information concerning reporting Party and preparation of National Report

Appendix II: Progress towards Targets of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas



Appendix III: Participants List

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

ii

Table of Contents ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

iii

List of Acronyms ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

vi

List of Figures ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

x

List of Tables …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

xi

Executive Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

xii

Chapter 1: Biodiversity Status, Trends and Threat ……………………………..…………………………………………

1

    1. Overview of biodiversity in The Bahamas …………………………………………………………………………..

1

    1. Agricultural Ecosystems …………………………………………………………………………………………………….

4

      1. Status …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

4

      1. Trends …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………...

6

      1. Threats ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

6

      1. Implication for Human Beings ……………………………………………………………………………….

6

    1. Forest Ecosystems …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

6

      1. Status …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

6

      1. Trends …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

9

      1. Threats ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

9

      1. Implication for Human Beings ……………………………………………………………………………….

9

    1. Inland Waters Ecosystems ………………………………………………………………………………………………..

9

      1. Status ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

9

      1. Trends …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

10

      1. Threats ……………………………………………………………………………………………………...............

10

      1. Implication for Human Beings ……………………………………………………………………………….

11

    1. Coastal and Marine Ecosystems ………………………………………………………………………………………...

11

      1. Status …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

12

        1. Pelagic Ecosystem ……………………………………………………………………………………………

12

        1. Deep Water Ecosystem ……………………………………………………………………………………

13

        1. Seagrass Beds ………………………………………………………………………………………………….

13

        1. Coral Reefs ………………………………………………………………………………………………………

13

        1. Wetlands/Mangroves ……………………………………………………………………………………..

14

        1. Blue Holes ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

15

        1. Beaches …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

16

      1. Trends ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

16

      1. Threats ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

18

      1. Implication for Human Beings ……………………………………………………………………………….

19

    1. Islands Ecosystems …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

19

      1. Status …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

19

      1. Trends ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

19

      1. Threats ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…..

20

      1. Implication for Human Beings …………………………………………………………………………..…..

20

Chapter 2: Current Status of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan (NBSAP) …….………...

21

    1. Overview of the NBSAP ……………………………………………………………………………………………………...

21

    1. Incorporation of Targets and Indicators into the NBSAP …………………………………………………….

21

    1. Implementation of the NBSAP …………………………………………………………………………………………..

21

    1. Effectiveness of the NBSAP ………………………………………………………………………………………………..

39

    1. Domestic and International Funding ………………………………………………………………………………….

39

    1. The Way Forward: How to revise and improve implementation of the NBSAP …………………..

40

    1. Specific information requested in COP 8 decisions …………………………………………………………….

41

Chapter 3: Sectoral and Cross-sectoral Integration or Mainstreaming of Biodiversity Considerations ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

43


    1. Integration of biodiversity concerns in sectoral plans and policies ……………………………………..

43

      1. Agriculture Sector Five Year Plan …………………………………………………………………………..

43

        1. Management objectives of the Agricultural Sector Plan for addressing threats to marine biodiversity identified in Chapter 1 …………………………………………………

43


      1. Marine Resources Sector Five Year Plan ………………………………………………………………..

46

        1. Management objectives of the Fisheries Sector Plan for addressing threats to marine biodiversity identified in Chapter 1 ……………………………………………………..

47


      1. Forestry ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………...

48

      1. Tourism …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..

49

      1. The Bahamas National Trust Strategic Five Year Plan (2008-2013) ………………………..

50

      1. Network of Protected Areas ………………………………………………………………………………….

50

    1. Sectoral Coordination …………………………………………………………………………………………………………

57

      1. Inter-Ministerial Coordination ……………………………………………………………………………….

57

      1. Legal and Regulatory Framework ………………………………………………………………………….

57

    1. Cross-sectoral Integration (mainstreaming) Biodiversity ……………………………………………………

57

      1. Multi-sectoral Committees ……………………………………………………………………………………

57

      1. Co-management Partnerships ……………………………………………………………………………….

61

      1. Land Use Project ……………………………………………………………………………………………………

62

      1. The Bahamas Land Use, Policy Administration Project (LUPAP) …………………………….

62

      1. Cross-sectoral Strategies ……………………………………………………………………………………….

63

    1. Regional Partnerships and Projects …………………………………………………………………………………….

63

      1. International Agreements ……………………………………………………………………………………..

63

      1. Mitigating the threat of Invasive Alien Species in the Insular Caribbean (MTIASIC)…

64

      1. Integrating Watershed and Coastal Areas Management (IWCAM) Project …………….

70

      1. Caribbean Challenge ……………………………………………………………………………………………..

71

      1. Regional Initiative of the Caribbean Sub-Region for the Development of a Sub-regional strategy to implement the Ramsar Convention ……………………………………….

72


    1. Integration of Biodiversity in EIAs and SEAs ……………………………………………………………………….

72

    1. The Way Forward: Enhancing Cross-Sectoral Integration (Mainstreaming) of Biodiversity in The Bahamas ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

73


Chapter 4: Conclusions: Progress towards the 2010 Target and Implementation of the Strategic Plan ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

76


    1. Progress towards the 2010 Target ……………………………………………………………………………………..

76

      1. National Targets and Indicators for Measuring Progress ……………………………………….

76

    1. Progress towards the Goals and Objectives of the Strategic Plan of the Convention ………….

76

    1. Obstacles Encountered ………………………………………………………………………………………………………

76

    1. Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

87

References ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

91

Appendix 1: Information concerning reporting Party and preparation of National Report ……………..

97

Appendix 2: Progress towards Targets of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas ………………………………………………………………………………………..

Appendix 3: Participant’s List................................................................................................................


99

108



List of Acronyms

AGRRA Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment

IAS Invasive Alien Species

AMMC Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation

BARC Bahamas Agricultural Research Centre

BCRF Bahamas Caves Research Foundation

Biodiversity Biological diversity

BNPAS Bahamas National Protected Area System

BNT Bahamas National Trust

BEST Bahamas Environment Science & Technology

BREEF Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation

BMMRO Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation

BSDI Bahamas Spatial Data Infrastructure

BNGIS Bahamas National Geographic Information System

CABI Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International

CAPX Capacity Action Plan

CARICOMP Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity Program

CHM Clearing House Mechanism

CLA Caribbean & Latin America

COB College of The Bahamas

COB-MESI College of The Bahamas Marine & Environmental Studies Institute

COP Conference of the Parties

CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

CBD Convention on Biological Diversity

DE Dolphin Encounters

DEHS Department of Environmental Health Services

DOA Department of Agriculture

DMR Department of Marine Resources

ECLSP Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

EIA Environmental Impact Assessment

EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone

EoE Encyclopedia of Earth

EEA European Environmental Agency

EUCC European Union Coastal Union

FAO Food and Agriculture Organization

FOE Friends of the Environment

GAP Good Agricultural Practice

GDP Gross Domestic Product

GEF Global Environment Facility

GOB Government of The Bahamas

GMOs Genetically Modified Organisms

GRAC Gladstone Road Agricultural Complex

IABIN Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network

ICOMIA International Council Of Marine Industry Association

IDB Inter-American Development Bank

ILS International Life Saving Federation

INP Inagua National Park

IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature

IWCAM Integrated Watershed and Coastal Areas Management

IWRM Integrated Water Resources Management

LBS Land-Base Sources of Marine Pollution

MARXAN Marine Reserve design using spatially Explicit Annealing

METT Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool

MTIASIC Mitigating the threat of Invasive Alien Species in the Insular Caribbean

MOU Memorandum of Understanding

LUPAP Land Use Policy and Administration Project

MOTA Ministry of Tourism and Aviation

MTE Ministry of the Environment

MPA Marine Protected Area

MSC Marine Stewardship Council

NBS National Biosecurity Strategy

NBSAP National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

NCSA National Capacity Self Assessment

NGO Non-governmental Organizations

NISP National Implementation Support Partnership

NISS National Invasive Species Strategy

NEMAP National Environmental Management and Action Plan

PA Protected Area

PNAS Proceedings of National Academy of Science s

PoWPA Programme of Work on Protected Areas

PSAs Public Service Announcements

RAPPAM Rapid Assessment and Prioritization for Protected Area Management

RO Reverse Osmosis

SIDS Small Island Developing States

SGP Small Grants Programme

SPS Sanitary Phyto-sanitary

The Bahamas The Commonwealth of The Bahamas

TNC The Nature Conservancy

UNDP United Nations Development Programme

UNEP United Nations Environmental Programme

UNWTO United Nations World Tourism Organization

W&SC Water & Sewerage Corporation



LIST OF FIGURES

Figure E.1: Summary of the Status, trends and threats to Biodiversity ……………………………………………..

xiii

Figure 1.1: Map of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the BNT Protected Areas …………………

2

Figure 1.2: Stromatolites

Source: Chet Raymo ……………..……….…..

3

Figure 1.3: Pine Forest

Source: BEST, 2002 ………………………….…

6

Figure 1.4: Kirtland Warbler

Source: J. Wunderle …………………………..

7

Figure 1.5: Bahama Parrot

Source: http://www.ardastra.com …….

7

Figure 1.6: Orchid

Source: Allen Chartier ………………………..

8

Figure 1.7: Nassau Grouper

Source: Craig Dahlgren ……………………...

11

Figure 1.8: Coral Reef

Source: Stuart’s Cove ………………………...

13

Figure 1.9: Flamingos

Source: BNT ……………………………………….

15

Figure 1.10: Ocean Blue Hole

Source: http://www.vaov.tumblr.com .

16

Figure 1.11: Iguana

Source: BNT ……………………………………….

19

Figure 1.12: Hutia

Source: Ardastra Gardens ………………….

19

Figure 2.1: Typical Beach in The Bahamas with Casuarina Trees (IAS)….. Source: Wendy Quant .……..

42

Figure 3.1: Lionfish (IAS) Source: http://www.ngadventure.typepad.com …..

47

Figure 3.2: First Order Land Use Map of New Providence

Source: Ministry of The Environment

66

LIST OF TABLES

Table E.1: Summary of Progress made on the priority actions outlined in The Bahamas’ NBSAP

xiv

Table E.2: Summary of Progress towards the goals and objectives of the Convention

xvii

Table 1.1: Endangered species found in The Bahamas (CITES)

5

Table 1.2: Pine forest plant species

7

Table 1.3: Species found in blackland coppice forests

8

Table 1.4: Plants and trees found in the whiteland coppice

8

Table 1.5: Marine mammals found in The Bahamas

12

Table 1.6: Important Reef regions of The Bahamas

14

Table 1.7: Important species found in wetlands/mangroves

15

Table 1.8: Iguana species in The Bahamas

19

Table 2.1: Summary of Progress made on the priority actions outlined in The Bahamas’ NBSAP

23

Table 2.2: Recommendations from the NBSAP

31

Table 2.3: Summary of Progress on the COP 8 Decisions

42

Table 3.1: Agricultural five year plan activities for the various thematic areas

44

Table 3.2: Protected Areas in The Bahamas

53

Table 3.3: Institutions and Legislation based on Biodiversity Management

58

Table 3.4: Legal and Regulatory Framework

59

Table 3.5: List of International Instruments

67

Table 3.6: Policies and Strategies

68

Table 3.7: Publications and Reports to meet the International Convention obligations

69

Table 4.1: Bahamas’ progress for Implementing CBD Targets

77

Table 4.2: Bahamas’ progress towards the Goals and Objectives of the Strategic Plan

85

Table A2.A: Targets of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation

99

Table A2.B: Progress towards Targets of the Programme of Work on Protected Areas

101

Table A2.C: Participant’s List 108

Executive Summary

The Bahamas signed the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) on the 12th of June, 1992 and ratified it on the 2nd September, 1993. The main objectives of the CBD are the conservation of biological diversity (biodiversity), sustainable use of its components; and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. As part of the obligations to the Convention, Parties are required to report on measures taken for the implementation of the CBD and their effectiveness in meeting the objectives of the CBD every four years.

Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth and ecosystems of which they are a part. In The Bahamas, various ecosystems such as forests, inland waters, wetlands, coral reefs, shoreline and coastal environments, and agricultural landscapes have a wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms. A symbiotic relationship occurs in each ecosystem from the interaction between species, including humans and the environment (air, water and soil). As result of this relationship, biodiversity sustain lives by providing goods and services. The Caribbean islands including The Bahamas are rich in biodiversity and are considered a “hotspot.”

“Biological diversity is our natural resource ‘savings account’ – the richer this account, the more services and benefits we receive from the environment (BEST, 2002).” It is important for the ecological, economic, aesthetic and spiritual well-being of people. It also provides indirect economic benefits by regulating climate, reducing erosion, providing tourist attractions and providing habitats for resident and migrating animals. The livelihood of the majority of Bahamians is either directly or indirectly influenced by our local environment. The major industries of tourism, agriculture and fishing relate to use of our sea, land and water resources.

The Bahamas is a coastal country, with the entire population living within the coastal zone. Marine environments cover the greatest area of The Bahamas and provide jobs, food and recreational services. Each year thousands of visitors frequent the shores of The Bahamas to dive and fish on the reefs, or cruise the beautiful turquoise and warm aquamarine waters of the archipelago. As a result, tourism employs more than half the workforce and accounts for more than 50% of the total GDP with 67% of the visitor arrivals by sea (Dupuch, 2010). Agriculture and fisheries industries make up 5% of the GDP and about 5% employment (Agriculture Plan, 2010).

Status, trends and threats

The principal natural threat to biological diversity in The Bahamas is climate change, as it will magnify all of the other natural threats identified such as coral bleaching, tropical hurricanes and sea level rise The main manmade threat to biological diversity in The Bahamas is the lack of appreciation and understanding of the value of the fragile Bahamian environment and biodiversity to the people. The five major human-related activities that destroy biological diversity in the country is habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, pollution, introduced or exotic species and over-harvesting. Expert and practitioner opinions were used to estimate the impacts, trends and threats to biodiversity (Figure E.1), as The Bahamas does not have a monitoring system for biodiversity. Chapter 1 provides more details on the status, trends and threats to biodiversity in The Bahamas.



Figure E.1: Summary of the Status, trends and threats to Biodiversity

Ecosystems / Biodiversity Component

Threat/Menaces







Climate Change




Habitat Loss




Invasive Species




Pollution




Over- exploitation

Agricultural


























Coppice Forest


























Pine Forest


























Inland Waters


























Islands


























Coastal


























Coral Reefs


























Mangroves


























Deep Water


























Seagrass Beds




























Driver’s Impact on Biodiversity




Driver’s Trends







Very High






Decreasing Impact







High






Stabilizing Impact







Moderate






Increasing Impact







Low






Very Rapidly Increasing Impact

Implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

The Bahamas developed the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) in 1999 as a guide guide to the implementation of the CBD. It identified the government agencies that would be responsible for undertaking biodiversity conservation and sustainable use measures. Assessment of the effectiveness of implementation progress of the NBSAP in Chapter 2 reveals that resource and capacity constraints have made implementation progress far from ideal. Although some of the priority actions and recommendations have been completed by various agencies, the NBSAP document is underutilized and not consistently referenced during the planning process.



Initiatives undertaken by the various sectoral agencies have contributed to the advancement of the NBSAP. Significant progress has been made in expanding and identifying sustainable funding for the protected areas in The Bahamas, thereby addressing resources and enforcement issues and hopefully ending stewardship protection parks in The Bahamas forever. A summary of the progress towards NBSAP implementation is provided in Table E.1 (an extraction of Table 2.1). Further details of the implementation process are provided in Sections 2.3 and 2.4 and in Table 2.1 and 2.2.

Table E.1: Summary of Progress made on the priority actions outlined in the Bahamas’ NBSAP

Strategic Action

Activities Attempted

Progress

(Scale: 0-5)

(lowest-highest)

1. Establishment of The Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission as a legal entity.

5 of the 8

2

2. Establishment of the National Biodiversity Task Force and Preparation for National Consultative Process.

2 of 2

3

3. The National Consultative Process.

5 of 5

1

4. Implementation of the Recommendations of the Biodiversity Data Management Project.

4 of 4

1

5. Preparation of Bioregional Guidelines, Position Papers and Policy Statements.

1 of 3

0

6. Planning for a System of National Parks.

3 of 3

3

7. Development of Monitoring and Evaluation Methodologies.

2 of 3

2

8. Protection or Rehabilitation of Threatened or Degraded Ecosystems and of Threatened Species.

1 of 3

2

9. Improvement of the Botanic Gardens to Enhance its Capacity for Ex Situ Conservation.

2 of 3

1


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