Growing our Future, on Statia and Saba

In 2022, two projects funded by the European Union, supported by RESEMBID and implemented by Expertise France commenced their collaborative efforts on the islands of Sint Eustatius (Statia) and Saba. These projects share a common goal: Reforestation using the ridge-to-reef approach. Although our focus is on restoring the terrestrial environment, our efforts will yield positive outcomes for the marine ecosystem. These projects aim to mitigate coastline erosion and sediment run-off, particularly impacting the delicate coral reefs.

The project is implemented by the organizations responsible for managing the terrestrial and marine national parks on both islands.  St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) oversees the project on St. Eustatius, while the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) spearheads efforts on Saba. St. Eustatius has increased the capacity of their ongoing reforestation project, ReforeStatia, initiated in response to hurricane damage inflicted by Irma and Maria in 2017. Meanwhile, on Saba, ReLeaf Saba commenced the reforestation effort on the island in April 2023.

Benefits on Land and at Sea

The project’s main objective is to

  • rehabilitate degraded areas on both islands
  • improving the health and resilience of the land and underwater ecosystems.

These actions will counter land erosion and reduce sediment discharge into the ocean, safeguarding the marine life crucial to the island’s economy, culture and biodiversity, through tourism, fishing and more. Alongside this project, both islands have a government-led project to control roaming livestock, allowing natural regeneration at a larger scale, when fully implemented.

Fencing off reforestation sites to exclude roaming livestock, with subsequent tree-planting became the standard method and best practice.

The positive impacts of tree planting extend to the community and environment on Statia and Saba. In Statia, reforestation efforts along the cliffs of Zealandia will prevent erosion and sediment run-off during heavy rainfall. This preserves the coastline and critical habitats like the sea turtle nesting beach.


On Saba, one key reforestation site is alongside the Fort Bay Road. This area has suffered severe erosion in the past making the road dangerous after severe weather.

Tree planting will contribute to stabilizing the steep slopes along the road while beautifying it. The increased tree coverage not only stabilizes the land but also provides habitats and food sources for local wildlife unique to our islands, such as birds, endemic iguanas, anoles (lizards), and insects.

The reforestation teams have been diligently working in nurseries, with ReforeStatia having a tree-growing capacity of 3,500 trees on-site.

Across nine reforestation sites, the sister projects have collectively planted over 1,000 trees.

Community and Capacity Building

Outreach activities, engaging the community and youth, are integral components of the project. Activities were conducted with schools, after-school program and the public. Both islands have also developed an “Adopt a Tree” program, where members of the community can receive trees to plant on their land.

Moving forward the two teams will continue their reforestation efforts with new planting locations and community activities.

Get Involved

Follow us our socials at FB, IG (Statia) and FB, IG (Saba). Sign up to our newsletter to see the latest updates on the project! Contact us HERE to plant trees on erosion-proned areas with ReforeStatia.