Bridled quail-dove

Statia’s green future and the quest to save the bridled quail-dove

Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA), Public Entity St. Eustatius, STENAPA
25-NOV-2023 - In alignment with the Nature and Environment Policy Plan (NEPP), a groundbreaking project is underway to address critical environmental challenges and restore Sint Eustatius’ unique ecosystems. This project combines reforestation with invasive species management for the crucial conservation of the island’s unique biodiversity.

The primary executor of this project is St Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA), with the appointing a focal person within its organization. The project entails two main components. The first includes activities directly related to invasive species control and ecosystem restoration, with a particular focus on the bridled quail-dove, an endangered bird species that only lives on a few islands in the Caribbean. The second component involves activities and structures conditional to implementing the first phase.

Invasive species control and ecosystem restoration

Sint Eustatius is facing significant threats to its vital forest ecosystems, particularly the endangered tropical dry forests. The main stressors include roaming animals, invasive species such as rats, inadequate nature conservation funding and legal enforcement, along with the impacts of climate change. To counteract these threats, this new project focuses on monitoring and controlling invasive species, following recommendations for restoring functional forest ecosystems.

Key actions include the removal of invasive species and reforestation efforts, emphasizing endemic species (species exclusively found and naturally occurring in a particular geographic location) to enhance ecosystem resilience. Reforestation not only aids in controlling invasive species but also contributes to habitat restoration, setting the stage for future projects addressing roaming animal control. The project aims to collaborate closely with stakeholders and experts in the field to ensure effective and sustainable restoration efforts.

Agave plant in front of The Quill, Sint Eustatius

One critical species, the bridled quail-dove, serves as an indicator for the success of invasive species control and ecosystem restoration. The project seeks to gather essential data on this species and biodiversity as a whole, laying the foundation for informed conservation strategies.

Project implementation

A significant challenge faced by STENAPA is the insufficient structural annual income needed to sustain the basic organizational structure required for managing the island’s parks. This project addresses this issue by incorporating some of the necessary activities and organizational costs for the implementation of the project. Recognizing the urgency, the project acknowledges the impossibility to pause nature conservation efforts until the basic requirements for nature management are resolved.

The Sint Eustatius restoration project is a comprehensive and timely initiative that not only addresses immediate environmental threats but also lays the groundwork for sustainable governance and conservation. By prioritizing invasive species control, ecosystem restoration, and addressing organizational challenges, this project seeks to secure the future of Sint Eustatius' natural heritage for generations to come.


The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) supports (science) communication and outreach in the Dutch Caribbean region by making nature related scientific information more widely available through amongst others the Dutch Caribbean Biodiversity Database, DCNA’s news platform BioNews and through the press. This article contains the results from several (scientific) projects but the projects themselves are not DCNA projects. No rights can be derived from the content. DCNA is not liable for the content and the in(direct) impacts resulting from publishing this article.

Text: DCNA
Photos: Kai Wulf (lead photo: bridled quail-dove); Christian König