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THE PROJECT’S SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS AND BENEFITS

 

Just a few months after it was carried out, rat eradication made it possible for several thousand juvenile Yelkouan Shearwaters to fledge that would otherwise have been predated. Should the success of the eradication effort be confirmed, it will bring about a substantial change in the conservation status of this species, preventing its extinction.


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Figure 1 – Incubating Yelkouan Shearwater

The entire ecosystem will benefit from eradication: small reptiles, other bird species, and plants will be safe from rats, and the people living on Tavolara will no longer constantly have to struggle to contain rats.

The eradication of Carpobrotus and the removal of goats from Spalmatore will continue to benefit plant species, which are once again thriving. The island will also look more natural and pristine to summer tourists.


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Figure 2 – Endemic species: Silene succulenta subsp. corsica

In the long-run, over 100,000 worth of damages to infrastructure, homes, and businesses will be prevented.

Conditions for tourism and trade will also improve. A high population density of rats would presumably have had negative repercussions on tourism to Tavolara. An estimated 50,000 people visit the island every year, who spend over 1.2 million annually. Over the long term, the eradication of rats will help preserve one of the main assets for the local economy.

Any costs caused by upsetting the natural balance and damaging habitats, plants, and animals will also be prevented.

The application of biosecurity measures and the monitoring activities carried out by the Marine Protected Area should ensure that the results achieved will be sustained in the future.

Educational activities have had positive results, with improved awareness and a greater likelihood of collaborating. The rat eradication effort was welcomed by the local community, who were thoroughly informed ahead of time.

Networking with experts and managers from similar national and international project helped the Puffinus Tavolara project benefit from cutting-edge experiences and facilitated the replicability of operational techniques. Project results will be disseminated through participation in conferences and the drafting of technical documents and reports, partly in collaboration with Island Conservation, an NGO involved in numerous conservation efforts on islands worldwide.


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Figure 3 - Networking between Life projects on the Isles of Scilly, rat-free since 2016
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