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From Blue Iguanas to Blue Vervain: engaging a community in protecting biodiversity in the Caribbean

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

  • Quentin J. Groom
  • Catherine Childs
  • Sarita Francis
  • Luke Harding
  • Errin Hussey
  • Annick Jackman
  • Rebecca Machin
  • Sofie Meeus
  • Mike Pienkowski
  • Delmaude C. Ryan
  • Eulyn Silcott-Greaves
  • Catherine Wensink
  • Jodey M. Peyton
Isolated islands with a high degree of endemism are known to be at particular risk of biological invasions. Many such islands have suffered from colonial policies that resulted in the introductions of invasive species. The From Blue Iguanas to Blue Vervain project is part of an environmental science programme with the aim of “Acknowledging legacies of race, social injustice and exclusion to inform the future”. The project is led by the UK Centre for Hydrology & Ecology and has partners of the National Trusts for the Cayman Islands and Montserrat in the Caribbean, the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum, Leeds Museums and Galleries and Meise Botanic Garden. Small islands, such as Montserrat and the Cayman Islands, with small populations and limited resources, can lack the capacity to assess the risks and impacts of introduced species, let alone manage them. Part of this project will build capacity and community engagement on invasive species in the islands. The project is also connecting the island communities to data on their biodiversity from museums and herbaria in the UK and across the world. As well as addressing invasive species and records of species and recorders, the project is working with knowledgeable local people on Montserrat, through oral histories, to understand the ways in which colonialism has shaped the perceptions of young people on Montserrat’s medicinal plants, known culturally as “weeds and bush”. Our project connects island stakeholders, including policy makers, scientists, teachers, wildlife managers and the public, but also museums, herbaria, academics, government and NGOs from the UK and further afield. It takes a community to protect biodiversity from invasive species and this project provides a platform through which the UK Overseas Territories can connect with resources from the UK and the world; decolonising collections to help conserve their unique biodiversity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13-Sept-2022
Event12th International Conference on Biological Invasions: Biological Invasions in a Changing World - University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
Duration: 12-Sept-202216-Sept-2022


Conference12th International Conference on Biological Invasions
Abbreviated titleNeobiota 2022
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