Welcome to the Balsam Blog, home in the internet world of the Falkland Islands Protected Areas Project.

I'll be using this blog to let people know what I've been up to and to share bits of useful information I pick up along the way. My project is subtitled 'Co-operative management of biological diversity', so that means you. The project will need your knowledge, concerns and hopes for the future to drive it along, so do contribute.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Public Consultation Workshops

I have been putting together some presentations for the first phase of the wider public consultations on the Protected Areas Strategy. The Project Steering Group has already done some work on the fundamental principles that will guide the strategy; now it's time to ask the wider community what they think.
After several months reading around  the more obscure corners of protected areas theory and research, it's been useful to go back and ask 'What are protected areas for?' and 'Why do we need to think about this now?'. I've gathered what I think are some useful points and I'm looking forward to hearing what friends and neighbours on West Falkland think.
The first two workshops are this Wednesday at Fox Bay, 7pm, Southern Cross Social Club, and Thursday at Hill Cove Club, same time. I hope people will go if they have something to say or want to learn more; the strategy will move on anyway, and this is a good chance for the community to help define what shape it will take.

I'll leave you with this to be going on with. It's not final, but it's not secret either.It will be aired at the meetings, after which a final version will become the first part of the Strategy:

Our principles for building the protected area system
Building on scientific guidelines and national and international commitments, the following principles have been developed for the Falklands through the Falkland Islands Protected Areas Strategy Project.
The highest priority is to develop a comprehensive protected areas system that includes the full range of the Falkland Islands’ plants and animals, landscapes, seascapes and ecosystems for the conservation of biodiversity and for the use and enjoyment of present and future Falkland Islanders.

Conserving natural landscapes, ecosystems and species
The system will include enough areas and sufficiently large areas to allow for ecological viability and the survival of species.
We will give priority to protecting areas that we know contain concentrations of special species and habitats.
The protected areas system will be designed to build in resilience to environmental change.
We will look for opportunities to act to help wildlife at a landscape scale to encourage connections between protected areas. (Not finalised)

Providing social, health, educational and economic benefits to the community
Socio- economic impacts and benefits will be considered. Stakeholders will be fully consulted to ensure that the maximum benefits are realised and negative impacts avoided.
Educational opportunities and health benefits provided by the enjoyment of protected areas will be actively promoted.
Cultural, scenic and heritage values will be considered when choosing areas to protect.

Practicality and urgency of designation and management
The legal and regulatory framework will ensure that any development within protected areas does not conflict with the aims of the designation.
Consistency will be achieved by the application of standard criteria and processes for the creation and management of protected areas.
Availability, practicality and future costs of management will be taken into account in the selection and prioritisation of protected areas.
The level of threat to defined biodiversity areas will be considered in the prioritisation of designation.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Falklands 30 Theme Week

We had a great week in the Infant and Junior school and Camp Education thinking about what we love about the Falkland Islands. Sixteen Falklands artists and craftspeople gave up their time and shared their enthusiam and expertise to teach the children new techniques and help them to realise their ideas. 
The art that the children produced will be photographed properly and exhibited in the school on June 13th; meanwhile, here are some pictures of some busy hands at work to give you an idea of what we got up to.
I'd like to thank everyone who took part, children, teachers and volunteers. What a great effort by you all.