Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Boost for nature recovery as new multi-million-pound grant scheme opens [April 2023]

The press release issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 29 April 2023.

Darwin Plus Strategic initiative opens for the first time, supporting ambitious, transformative projects to tackle biodiversity loss in the UK Overseas Territories.

  • UK government also opens applications for Darwin Plus Main, Fellowship and Local, continuing to support nature recovery and species under threat
  • Funding delivers on government’s target to halt and reverse biodiversity decline

Efforts to boost biodiversity recovery in the UK Overseas Territories have been bolstered with large-scale projects funded for the first time to tackle nature loss.

The UK Overseas Territories, including the Falkland Islands and Montserrat, are some of the most nature-rich and biodiverse areas in the world. Thick forests, shimmering oceans and vast grasslands thrive with wildlife, many of which are under threat from climate change and habitat loss.

The new Darwin Plus Strategic Fund will support projects up to £3 million over the next three years to strengthen species and habitat recovery in the Overseas Territories.

The funding will be awarded to projects in the UK Overseas Territories which are designed to tackle invasive species, improve internationally important habitats such as cloud forests and coral reefs, and expand monitoring of climate change to improve resilience.

Environment Minister Trudy Harrison said:

“From dense rainforests to marshlands which capture carbon, our Overseas Territories are full of unique habitats and diverse wildlife which must be protected for future generations.

“The new grant scheme announced today is a flagship commitment which will support transformative improvements in biodiversity, halt nature-loss and build climate resilience.”

Howard Nelson, Chair of Darwin Plus Advisory Group, said:

“Every annual call for projects for Darwin Plus is important, as it provides a way to fund important efforts to conserve the unique biodiversity of the territories.

“The addition of the Darwin Plus Strategic Fund enables the stakeholders from the Overseas Territories with an opportunity to scale up and accelerate actions that work for conservation, and bring positive change for biodiversity across these amazing places. We are very excited to see the proposals and the new opportunities this will create for conservation action.”

Under the Environmental Improvement Plan, the government reiterated the commitment to bolster support for biodiversity in the Overseas Territories. Today’s announcement delivers on this pledge and will help achieve the target to halt biodiversity decline by 2030 and improve species abundance by 10% by 2042.

In addition to opening of the new Darwin Plus Strategic Fund, existing funding allocated through Darwin Plus Local will support over 40 projects including:

  • Support for Bermuda’s Living Reef foundation which preserves and restores coral reefs by rearing young corals in its land-based hatchery and planting them on the reef habitat. The funding will support increased monitoring, the use of 3D computer modelling infrastructure and train four scientists to enhance coastal protections
  • Biodiversity surveys in Antarctica to better understand and implement new biodiversity protection measures around the Western Antarctic Peninsula and increase protection for flora and fauna sites. The grant will support the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust to create a new Environmental Management Plan to address climate adaptation
  • The protection and hand-pollination of endemic ghost orchids in the Cayman Islands to address the threat of extinction. The funding will support partners who raise seedlings in nutrient-rich media to combat pollination limitations observed in natural populations

Since 2012, the Darwin Plus programme has invested over £45 million in over 240 biodiversity and conservation projects in the UKOTs. For further information on Darwin Plus programmes and the full list of projects visit: