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Protecting threatened Over-seas biodiversity
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In French Guyana, students looking for information on the Salvation Islands

Since October and until March 2021, 4 students of BTS “Management and Protection of Nature” of the Agricultural High School of Matiti participate in a tutored project proposed by GEPOG as part of the Atlantic Goliath Grouper component of the Life BIODIV’OM project. Their mission is to carry out a study aimed at collecting data on nature-based leisure activities on the Salvation Islands, a very touristy natural and cultural site.

BTS GPN students on the Salvation Islands © GEPOG

The tutored project

To do this, students will need to collect a certain amount of information from site visitors through field surveys. This data will then be processed using the TESSA method, a standardized toolkit that will ultimately enable site value analysis for nature-based recreation.
Several survey sessions will be scheduled throughout the project and will ensure that they are distributed so as to obtain a representative sample of one year. Meetings with tourism professionals and other stakeholders of the site are also planned in order to collect the different visions.
This action will be integrated into a more global assessment report of ecosystem services on the Salvation Islands. The benefits linked to the cultural and historical aspect of the site as well as to the harvesting of wild products will also be analyzed.

What is an ecosystem service?
Ecosystem services are defined as the set of benefits that nature provides to humans. Their evaluation makes it possible to highlight the usefulness of the ecological function, on the one hand for human well-being, and on the other hand for the economy.

These ecosystem services fall into several categories:
• Provisioning services:
o Harvested wild goods (mushrooms, berries, hunting, fishing)
o Cultivated goods (aquaculture, cereal or fruit crops)
• Regulating services:
o Coastal protection (mangrove, cliff, peat bog)
o Global climate regulation (carbon storage by the forest)
• Cultural services:
o Physical or mental well-being (feeling of well-being, etc.)
o Nature-based leisure activities (sport fishing, boating, diving, etc.)

Why evaluate the ecosystem services provided by a species or a natural site?

These evaluations aim to collect qualitative, quantitative or monetary data making it possible to convince or influence actors, the general public, managers, owners, political decision-makers in order to make them aware of the usefulness of a site or a species and thus enhance the advantages that the latter provide to humans.

For more information on ecosystem services: http://www.fao.org/ecosystem-services-biodiversity/en/