Results from a series of designs sessions, workshops and interviews describe a vision for Bonaire in 2050. In this vision, measures to combat challenges for any sector, will also strengthen nature. We call this a ‘nature inclusive vision’. A recently published visual booklet presents views of a future in which economic development and a nature inclusive society join forces to maintain what is precious, and to improve what is damaged or threatened.
As a small tropical island, Bonaire is rich in biodiversity and hosts a wide variety of globally unique natural areas. These areas are a basis for Bonairean culture and important for coastal protection and tourism. At the same time, there are many different pressures that combine to impact both nature and other forms of land- and sea use in this small area.
Within the context of the WUR Knowledge Basis project ‘Nature inclusive planning on small tropical islands’ (KB-36-005-002), researchers from Wageningen Research, experts from Bonaire and experts from The Netherlands have developed a vision for the island in 2050. It is the result of a series of design sessions, interviews and workshops with local experts, decision makers and researchers in the field of nature, culture, recreation, agriculture and governance. Some of the challenges that were addressed in these sessions included managing population growth and tourism, preventing high erosion rates due to free-roaming cattle, recharging fresh water in the soil, increasing the use of renewable energy, and adaptation to sea level rise.
Together, the researchers and experts have mapped potential nature-inclusive measures and deliberated where, why and how these could be adopted. These potential measures include for example rooftop water harvesting, reforestation and greening gardens using indigenous species, growing local food, creating cactus fences, installing solar panels and coral restoration. The types of measures that are applied depend on the local and spatial context: the biophysical, cultural and aesthetic characteristics. This is what makes Bonaire so interesting; the landscape is very diverse with dry cacti forests, traditional kunukus, coralline coasts, biodiverse reefs, extensive salt flats, vibrant villages and tasty traditional cuisine.
With nature inclusive planning, it’s all about creating positive outcomes for both nature and people. With the knowledge of island experts and decision makers, and the enthusiasm of the local community, we can create a beautiful Bonaire for generations to come, said Peter Verweij-project leader.
More info in the Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database
Scientific articles (DCBD)
Peter Verweij, Anouk Cormont, Jeanne Nel, Bertram de Rooij, Lawrence Jones-Walters, Diana Slijkerman, Katrine Soma, Michiel van Eupen, 2020. A nature inclusive vision for Bonaire in 2050. Wageningen, Wageningen Environmental Research, Report 3023. 42 pp.; 10 fig.; 0 tab.; 71 ref.