Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands in the South Pacific enriched with amazing flora and fauna. It is a country where the majority of the people live in rural areas and are dependant on their surrounding environment and natural resources to thrive. Consequently there is a strong bond between Ni-Vanautu and their land. But there is little scientific study of the plants animals and their interactions with each other. At VESS we believe that both indigenous knowledge, passed down from gerneations of people living on the land, and scientific knowledge together will assist this and future generations to live harmoniously within our changing environment. VESS aims to fill the knowledge gaps that exist in relation to our environment and the flora and fauna resident here so we understand our natural world and can develop the tools to ensure sustainable use of our natural resources as well as preserving Vanuatu’s unique biodiversity into the future.
Vanuatu sits within the East Melanesian Island’s Hotspot for biodiversity. Our islands are young, in geological terms, and remote and this has lead to a high level of endemism which means that there are many animals and plants that live in Vanuatu and no where else in the world. Vanuatu is surrounded by coral reefs which are home to an array of beautiful marine organisms. Our costal waters are also visited by migratory species such as whales and marine turtles. Some of these species are threatened with extinction and listed on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. VESS will work towards improving the prospects for these threatened plants and animals and increase their chance of survival. You can find out more about the richness of East Melanesian Islands Hotspot from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund’s (CEFP) website and the EMI ecosystem profile. The CEPF is currently funding projects in Vanuatu including supporting VESS. This website was built as part of a project funded by CEFP.