International Reporting Requirements

The mangroves of Bonaire provide critical ecosystem services and are of vital ecological importance to the island.  As such, there are a wide variety of local, regional and international agreements which pertain to these areas.  The Kingdom of the Netherlands has a legal obligation to provide periodic updates on the status of the mangroves and various species found in and around these forests.  The Mangrove Maniacs are proud to serve as the local custodians of this area and are often called upon to provide updates and field data to support these reports.

Below is a list of the local and international agreements related to the mangroves of Bonaire:

Bonaire National Marine Park

The largest portion of Bonaire’s mangrove forest surrounds Lac Bay.  This area is managed by STINAPA Bonaire as a part of the marine park and falls within the Bonaire National Marine Park Management Plan.

Nature and Environmental Policy Plan Caribbean Netherlands

The Nature and Environment Policy Plan for the Caribbean Netherlands (2020-2030) specifically mentions Bonaire’s mangroves within two of its targets. Target 2.1in this plan calls for the conservation and restoration of key habitats and specifically calls out the mangroves as an example of key habitats. This report specifically calls out these mangrove forests in two targets within strategic goal 2, target 2.1.g “Develop and implement management plans for mangroves and seagrass areas by 2024” and target 2.1.o “The mangroves of Bonaire are restored to the original extend through the restoration of water flows by 2030” (NEPP, 2020).

Sustainable Development Goals

Starting in 2015, member states of the United Nations agreed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which outlined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Each nation provides periodic reporting updates on their progress towards reaching the 2030 goals.  The mangroves fall directly under three of the UN SDGs
13- Climate Action
14- Life below water
15-Life on land

RAMSAR Site Lac Bay

The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Lac Bay has been identified as a RAMSAR site since 1980.

Important Bird Areas

Lac Bay has been identified as an Important Bird Area as it supports a wide variety of local, wintering and breeding birds.  This area is also an occasional roost site for the Vulnerable Yellow shouldered Amazon Parrot (Amazona barbadensis). This bay also hosts a large Caribbean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) population, with numbers occasionally exceeding 200 birds.  Historically, this area has also been known to have roosts of over 100 Magnificent Frigate birds (Fregata magnificens). In addition, the mangroves and salt flats are of local significance to nesting terns and hold a breeding population of the Reddish Egret (IUCN-status Near-Threatened).

Cartagena Convention - Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) and marine pollution (LBS),

This protocol provides legal framework to aid on the conservation of regional biodiversity.  More specificially, all members of this treaty are required to protect, conserve and sustainably manage ecological, plant and animal species which are being threatened.  The two main goals are:

• The protection, preservation and sustainable management of the zones that present particular ecological value ;
• The protection, preservation and sustainable management of threatened or endangered wild species as well as their habitats.

Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

This international agreement regulates and, if necessary, prohibits the trade or removal of a species for the benefit of conserving it in the wild.  Almost 200 species living in the wild in the Caribbean Netherlands are protected by CITES, many of which can be found in and around the mangrove forests including turtles, iguanas, ocorals, rays, and bird species.

Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC)

This intergovernmental treaty provides the legal framework for countries in the American Continent to take actions in benefit of sea turtle species.  Three of these species (green, hawksbill and loggerhead) can be found on Bonaire.