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Tourism pays for Conservation

Belo Monte is part of Africa’s Eden, a sustainable tourism organisation 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 profits 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.

Conservation activities

Príncipe has a remarkable biodiversity, including a high number of species found nowhere else in the world. Africa’s Eden has supported important research initiatives on the island, such as the expeditions of the California Academy of Sciences and marine research and sea turtle conservation activities of the Fundação Príncipe. In 2017 Africa’s Eden founded the Forever Príncipe! conservation alliance with its headquarters and field lab located on the grounds of Belo Monte. It focuses on conservation action that ideally benefits biodiversity, local communities, capacity building and, where possible, ecotourism. Recently a collaboration protocol was signed with the BIOPOLIS Association in Portugal. More news will follow soon.

Forever Príncipe!’s conservation projects

  1. In 2016, a new owl species was discovered on the island. Research is done to better understand the distribution of the species across the island, as well as its life cycle and potential threats in order be able to take relevant conservation measures regarding the species.
  2. The reproductive biology of demersal fish species needs research attention. These species are important for artisanal fisheries, but the catch size is getting smaller. We need to find out how to keep their stocks in balance.
  3. Protection of marine biodiversity in Príncipe is extremely relevant. So far there is no protected marine area in the national or regional legislation. In order to work towards the creation of marine managed areas and to stop illegal fishing, data is being collected to identify which areas are of high conservation priority.
  4. Citizen science on butterflies, birds and reef fish is set up to get tourists directly involved in biodiversity monitoring within the Belo Monte concession. We invite everyone to help record the presence of different species and their numbers! This way, everyone becomes environmental stewards, while making data on local biodiversity available to experts.
  5. An ecosystem assessment of rhodolith beds, locally called ‘gla-gla’, teaches us more about the value of this unique marine ecosystem. So far, there has been hardly any scientific research done on rhodilith beds worldwide, and they are common around Príncipe.
  6. The mountain and cloud forest are another example of ecosystems that still hold many secrets. Two expeditions with experts from across the globe are being organized to further unravel its botanical and insect diversity.
  7. One of the pilot project focusses on the rich endemic reptiles and amphibians. The aim is to get insight into population dynamics, distribution and the conservation status of the different species.
  8. An orchid shade house has been set up at Belo Monte to study and protect Príncipe’s fascinating orchids, but also to bring them closer to the visitors. The orchid family is one of the most abundant plant families on the island. New species are being described regularly, and many orchids are endemic and rare.

We are always open to collaboration opportunities, and Forever Príncipe! can provide researchers with in-kind support as logistics, lab use and accommodation.