chapter  8
10 Pages

The Santo 2006 Global Biodiversity Expedition, Vanuatu

Santo 2006 was a scientific expedition to document the flora and fauna, both marine and terrestrial on the Island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu. The expedition involved a natural history inventory, and also a taxonomic inventory (including alien species), intended to provide a baseline of biodiversity for scientists to monitor on the island due to impacts such as climate change (Nari, interview, 12/6/12). The expedition involved collaboration between the French National Museum of Natural History (MNHN), the French Institute for Research for Development (IRD), Pro-Natura International (an NGO which studies tropical forest canopies) and involved the Ministry of Lands of the Government of Vanuatu as the umbrella organisation in Vanuatu. Over 100 participants from 15 countries were involved in fieldwork focused primarily between August and December 2006 (Bouchet et al., 2006). As described by some of the project leaders:

The land area of Santo and its marine fringes host a mosaic of habitats that have remained largely unexplored. Santo’s complex ecological diversity and its geographical position within the archipelago[sic] of Melanesia suggest a very high level of biological diversity. Much of its flora and fauna are still to be discovered, most notably in mega-diverse groups like insects and mollus[c]s. Santo lies outside the centers of economic growth, with the consequence that it has been spared the global standardization that is affecting much of the planet.