The rich, unique and invaluable biodiversity of the European overseas regions has been recognized as of global importance and depends on ecosystems, which provide critical services that not only support local economies and livelihoods but also offer cost-efficient climate change solutions. However, these remote regions are vulnerable and already affected by climate change and other common as well as region-specific threats. In consultation with local experts, stakeholders and local authorities the BEST regional knowledge hubs have been elaborating an ecosystem profile for each of the 7 regions, in which EU overseas entities are located. Their work concluded with recommendations for critical areas for action to preserve these ecosystems with their valuable biodiversity and ecosystem services as well as to foster sustainable development and resilience to climate change.
To read a summary of the identified critical areas for action for each region open the PDF fact sheets below. A presentation with the key findings of each ecosystem profile can be downloaded from the individual Regions’ pages.
French Guiana - Europe’s gateway to the Amazon rainforest – holds a treasure of yet undiscovered species, invaluable ecosystem services and a variety of traditional cultures within the EU’s largest protected area. However, this treasure is threatened by illegal human activities and measures for sustainable resource management need to be developed to ensure long-term benefits to all.
With nearly half of EU’s overseas entities politically attached to three countries the Caribbean region is home to highly diversified habitats and different cultures, which are all facing common economic and ecological challenges. Fostering collaboration is therefore critical to ensure sustainable development that is thriving on its natural assets without destroying them.
While harbouring a large part of the region’s healthy marine biodiversity and protected areas on one hand, the Indian Ocean is also facing rapid ecosystem degradation due to rapid and unsustainable development. Improving knowledge on the connection between a healthy environment and a healthy economy will help to better integrate and enforce protection measures in policies.
Home to an exceptional number of endemic species the Macaronesian archipelagos have grown immensely in population and tourist numbers but also face the challenges associated with unsustainable development. Good management of natural resources for tourism, agriculture and fisheries is thus pivotal to maintain the economic and ecological health of the region.
Spreading over an area larger than continental Europe the over 130 islands and atolls of the Pacific overseas region showcase an incredible richness of unique biodiversity and coral reefs, which provide fundamental ecosystem services to the local economy. While still largely unknown due to their remoteness, the impacts from humans and invasive species demonstrate the need to better protect these vulnerable habitats through targeted conservation measures in the 2 Pacific sub-regions.
Learn more about the critical areas for action the East and West Pacific (PDF, PDF).Click here to read about the Pacific region and download the preliminary outcomes from the ecosystem profiles for the East and West Pacific.
Polar and Sub-polar
The cold waters of the overseas entities in the Arctic and Antarctic produce an enormous marine biodiversity, including an important part of Europe’s fish supply. Though largely uninhabited or only sparsely populated, its biodiversity and ecosystems are extremely affected by climate change and the consequences of overexploitation.
A variety of climates – from cool temperate to warm tropical – and isolated location allowed a vast species’ diversity to remain largely unknown but did not prevent imperilment by universal threats such as invasive alien species. Improving knowledge to better inform action and management plans is thus essential to protect the biodiversity and habitats in the South Atlantic region.