Status and Trends of Biodiversity
The biological resources of the country are a potential source of wealth, with large potential benefits for the population, if they are managed and utilized in a sustainable way. There are four main ecosystems defined for the country: marine and coastal; inland waters; forest; and agricultural. Sao Tome and Principe consists of 2 main islands with a total area of 1,001 km2, located in the Gulf of Guinea. In terms of species richness Sao Tome and Principe is host to: 895 vascular plants (134 endemic), 63 bird species (25 endemic), 16 reptiles (7 endemic) and 9 amphibian species (all endemic). There are around 300 species of medicinal plants that are utilized by the indigenous communities of the islands. Sao Tome and Principe offers a unique opportunity to link, through tourism, the conservation of biodiversity with sustainable economic development. Some of the main threats to biodiversity include: coastal erosion and destruction of beaches; inadequate fishing practices; pollution; misappropriation of natural land; indiscriminate burning and logging; uncontrolled hunting; exploitation of species like parrots and sea turtles; and introduction of exotic species (including pests and viral infections).