NPTVI is exploring the impacts of climate change within the BVI as part of the two year Darwin Plus 180 project, 'Integrating climate change resilience into protected area design and management'.
This summer we worked with soil scientists from the University of Portsmouth, who were in the BVI under a Department of Disaster Management (DDM) led Darwin Plus 160 project, ' Multi-Purpose Soil Survey: informing environmental management and climate change mitigation’ to learn more about the soils within protected areas.
Global research has identified that tropical soils will be impacted by climate change, as temperatures increase, more carbon may be released from the soil and the number of micro-organisms that live in the soil may decline.
To better understand the soils within protected areas three national parks were visited this summer to collect soil samples for further analysis. The role that national parks can play in mitigating the impacts of climate change is one of the key questions in this DPLUS 180 project.
Fallen Jerusalem National Park: Dr. Richard Teeuw, Portsmouth University with NPTVI Senior Terrestrial Warden Keith Grant and Warden Jahkoy Gordon at a soil collection site
Prickly Pear National Park: Dr. Richard Teeuw, Portsmouth University and NPTVI Senior Terrestrial Warden Keith Grant collecting a soil sample. Lack of vegetation, grazing by feral goats and intense afternoon heating combine to make a very dry eroded western facing slope.
Prickly Pear National Park: collecting soil samples along the edge of a salt pond, made slightly cooler by some shade, an effect that trees and forests provide naturally!
Great Tobago National Park: a drier and hotter climate causes long periods of drought which affect vegetation health. The impacts of hurricane Irma are still evident as many large trees were destroyed and feral goats prevent seedling regeneration.
Great Tobago National Park: Dr. Heather Rumble, a soil biodiversity scientist from the University of the West of England with NPTVI Terrestrial Warden Chane Smith collecting a soil sample for lab analysis at the new soil lab at HLSCC to identify the presence of soil microbiota.