Tourism pays for Conservation
Roça Belo Monte is part of Africa’s Eden, a sustainable tourism organization operating under the concept of ‘Tourism Pays for Conservation’. Africa’s Eden aims to give travellers the opportunity to experience pristine nature in unique, unexplored destinations and invests the revenues generated through tourism in conservation projects in the area. Africa’s Eden works in a local context to achieve sustainable protection of unique nature and facilitates employment and education opportunities.
After successfully introducing this concept in Loango National Park in Gabon, Africa’s Eden expanded its activities to São Tomé and Príncipe. After having operated Hotel Omali on São Tomé and Hotel Bom Bom on Príncipe, Africa’s Eden has moved to Roça Belo Monte.
Since many years Africa’s Eden has supported the research expeditions of the California Academy of Sciences on Príncipe and also marine research and sea turtle conservation activities of the Fundaçao Príncipe Trust.
Príncipe has a unique biodiversity, but a lack of data and resources complicate its conservation. In 2017 Africa’s Eden founded the Forever Príncipe! conservation alliance located on the grounds of Roça Belo Monte. Forever Príncipe! has set up a conservation program consisting of seven pilot projects through partnerships with renowned universities. These conservation projects have been selected for the conservation relevance by informing conservation action on current challenges on Príncipe, as well as the potential for community engagement.
Forever Príncipe!’s conservation projects
- Fish reproduction and maturity
Aim: Understand the life cycle of important demersal fish species in order to formulate better fishing regulations to keep these populations healthy and the food chain in balance.
- Campaign against unsustainable fishing and trial a seasonal closure or locally marine managed area
Aim: Reduce unsustainable fishing practices and ensure improved marine conservation through the creation of a seasonal closure or a locally marine managed area.
- Ex situ conservation of Príncipe’s orchids
Aim: Conservation of Príncipe’s orchids, with a special focus on the endemic and threatened species. Orchids have been collected and put in a shade house at Roça Belo Monte for further research.
- Create a citizen science scheme on reef fish, bird and butterfly diversity
Aim: Monitoring butterflies, birds and reef fish biodiversity across seasons and years within the concession through a participatory approach
- Ecological assessment of the endemic scops owl
Aim: Understand the ecology of the scops owl on Príncipe in order to protect the species.
- Assess the importance of Príncipe’s rhodolith beds
Aim: Assess the ecological importance of Príncipe’s rhodolith beds.
- Botanical and entomological assessment of Príncipe’s mountain and cloud forest
Aim: Unravel the botanic and entomological diversity of Príncipe’s cloud forests, as well as their main ecosystem services.
More about the islands’ unique nature and the importance of conserving it can be learned in the museum located at Roça Belo Monte.