English  |  Español  |  Français

Barbados - Main Details

Show map

Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Barbados is the most easterly island of the Eastern Caribbean island chain. The island is 34 km long and 23 km wide and has a total land area of approximately 432 km2 with a mild subtropical climate. It is relatively flat, composed mostly of coral limestone with deep riverbed gullies. These gullies tend to have a large and mature collection of native ferns, climbers, shrubs and trees and are particularly significant, as Barbados’ natural vegetation cover has been reduced to around 2% of the island’s territory since its settlement in 1627. The main agricultural crop is sugar cane, but there is an increasing amount of abandoned sugar cane land regenerating under a natural vegetation cover. In Barbados, 78% of the land area is farmed by 10% of the farmers and dominated by estates or plantations of over 50 hectares. Indigenous mammals are restricted to 6 species of bats, but introduced mammals include rats, green monkeys and mongoose. Barbados is located on a major migratory flyway between North and South America and, as a result, some 150 species of migratory birds have been recorded on the island. Aquatic ecosystems include wetlands, rocky intertidal areas, seagrass beds and coral reefs.

Benefits arising from biodiversity are largely based on tourism which employs about 10% of the workforce.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The main threat to biodiversity is habitat loss which is caused mainly by tourism developments, unsustainable land use practices, land clearance and golf course developments. Other threats to biodiversity include the introduction of invasive species and sewage pollution.

Examples of specific threats to flagship species include the severe overexploitation of sea turtle stocks. This includes species such as the Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) and Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta).

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The NBSAP of Barbados was established in 2002 with the Ministry of Environment and Drainage acting as the focal point. Management employs a multidisciplinary approach, coordinating between ministries, NGOs, CBOs, academia, the private sector, regional and international organizations, that all have legislative mandates, administrative procedures and specific goals. There have recently been significant improvements in the sharing of information among these entities. In addition, there has been a cabinet appointment of several multi-sectoral committees, namely the Working Group on Biodiversity and the CITES Scientific Authority. These efforts helped shape the NBSAP.

The main objectives of NBSAP are to:

• Mobilize financial resources for biological conservation measures

• Develop the human resource base and strengthen institutional capacity

• Conduct essential research

• Develop appropriate management techniques and mechanisms

• Revise, consolidate and formulate policy and legislations specific to biodiversity conservation

• Promote biodiversity conservation and sustainability through incentives

• Incorporate biodiversity conservation requirements into land use and planning

• Improve public awareness and education on biodiversity

• Establish in situ and ex situ biodiversity conservation measures

• Ensure equitable biodiversity and traditional knowledge access and benefit-sharing

• Establish biosafety regulations

• Promote conservation and sustainable use

The provisions of the NBSAP are being implemented through the annual Biodiversity Work Programme of the Ministry of Energy and Environment (MEE).

Barbados is currently undertaking activities towards revising its NBSAP.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Steps taken towards achieving the 2020 targets include the National Physical Development Plan, which makes provisions for the establishment of a national system of parks and open spaces to ensure the protection and conservation of natural and cultural assets, while supporting the socio-economic development of communities within the park boundaries. These efforts contribute to Aichi Biodiversity Targets 5, 11 and 14.

There are also several strategies in place which help conserve marine biodiversity, such as the Fisheries Management Plan and the Integrated Coastal Management Plan. The Area Development Plan and the Physical Development Plan also both recommend that agricultural practices take into consideration environmental protection and sustainable use which will support the achievement of Aichi Biodiversity Targets 6, 7 and 11.

In addition, an Integrated Gully Ecosystem Management Plan was prepared to balance the need to protect biodiversity and the gullies’ drainage function with the development required for ecotourism and agriculture. A significant amount of work is currently being done by Government Departments, academia and non-governmental organizations in relation to coral reef and sea turtle conservation and management, contributing to the achievement of Aichi Biodiversity Targets 11, 12 and 14.

The Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) secured grant funding from the GEF Small Grants Development Programme to undertake a study between 2008 and 2010 entitled "Conservation of the Genetic Makeup of the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep and Improvement of the Marketing Opportunities to the Industry”. This is linked to Aichi Biodiversity Targets 7 and 19.

Other actions taken include measures to reduce the threat of invasive species outlined in the draft Guidelines for the Management of Alien/Exotic Species which forms part of the Quarantine Act and the Health Services Act, relating directly to Aichi Biodiversity Target 9.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Although currently there is no existing comprehensive environmental legislation, some laws address specific aspects of the Convention on Biological Diversity, even though it is not their overarching intention. A draft Environmental Management Act contains provisions for the implementation of the CBD and Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Protocol.

The Government of Barbados provides financial resources through the consolidated fund to the Departments of the Ministries of Environment and Drainage, as well as other Ministries and Departments. External funding is also sought through various multilateral institutions, donor funds and NGOs. Research and conservation projects are often supported through the University of the West Indies Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies, small grants foundations and academic institutions.

The management of biodiversity in Barbados is guided primarily by a number of policy documents: the National Strategic Plan of Barbados, National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Barbados Sustainable Development Policy and Physical Development Plan. These documents attempt to mainstream biodiversity issues into national policy. Because tourism has such an important impact on the Barbados environment, a Sustainable Tourism Policy has also been adopted.

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

There still remains no formal monitoring and reporting system in place to measure the extent to which the activities have been carried out, and how they have impacted on achieving the objectives. Continued cooperation among the Government, private sector, communities, NGOs, academia and regional and international institutions has resulted in significant progress being made in some areas, but many challenges still remain and have slowed the rate at which the NBSAP has been implemented.

To address this, the Barbados Policy on Sustainable Development has adapted a list of 170 indicators for sustainable development, five of these indicators have been identified for measuring biodiversity in the context of sustainable development: local species populations, threatened species as a percentage of total native species, percentage change in key ecosystems, decline of indicator species as a measure of habitat stability and health, quantity of introduced/exotic species.

Rate this page - 65 people have rated this page 
  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme