Biodiversity in the Caribbean

Biodiversity in the Caribbean

When thinking about the Caribbean, white sandy beaches, crystal clear water and joy of life come to mind. Environmental enthusiasts are attracted to the high terrestrial biodiversity in the Caribbean. In the Dominican Republic for example, over 5,600 plant- and 200 bird species are known so far. The colourful reefs, sea turtles, whales, sea cows and many other marine species are a further attraction. Exotic food and adventurous leisure activities included in all-inclusive packages are a paradise for bargain hunters. A trip to the Caribbean is a dream held dear by many travellers.

Each year about 30 million people from all over the world make this dream come true and the number of tourists in the Caribbean is ever rising. This mass tourism quickly becomes a nightmare for countries like the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Honduras. Sandy beaches full of garbage, marine pollution through untreated sewage and emissions from shipping (cruisers), loss of biodiversity through overexploitation (70 to 90 % of coral reefs have already died off), destruction/ fragmentation of habitats and shortage of resources are all stressors for the environment and cast a shadow over this unique area.

Undoubtedly, the tourism industry is an important and indispensable economic factor. However, the tourism sector is strongly dependent on the environment and nature conservation is therefore a key subject for this sector. The project partners – Global Nature Fund, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Fundación Grupo Puntacana, Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) and Counterpart International – work together on different aspects of this topic. The aim of the project is to make tourism in the Caribbean more sustainable in the long term, thereby preserving the breath-taking biodiversity of this hotspot.

Project Activities

Project measures

Fundación Puntacana creates coral gardens to restore destroyed coral reefs. In order to guarantee the sustainability of this measure, institutions and the local population are involved in the process and a monitoring system is established.

The protection and monitoring of endangered species (hawksbill turtles, parrotfish, sea cucumbers, whales, etc.) will be improved by:

  • Care of injured individuals (marine turtles)
  • Denouncement of the illegal trade in turtle products
  • Encouraging the use of invasive (e.g. lionfish) instead of endangered species in catering and handicrafts
  • Compiling information to raise awareness (e.g. on the importance of the parrotfish, sea cucumbers)
  • Education in sustainable use of natural resources (mangrove protection)

Representatives of the tourism industry will receive training on ecosystem services, supply chains and sustainable management.

Hotel and restaurant staff will be introduced to biodiversity-friendly products in the supply chain.


Countries:   Domenican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala
EBBC Partner:   Global Nature Fund
Other Partners:   Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Fundación Grupo Puntacana, Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Counterpart International
Supporter:   EuropeAid-Programme of the European Union