Since October 10, 2010, Bonaire is a special municipality of the Netherlands. As part of this transition, Bonaire has drawn up a spatial development plan. The starting point when drawing up the spatial development plan in 2010 was Bonaire’s desire to grow in terms of tourism, activity and number of inhabitants, while preserving the identity and qualities of the island, because this forms the economic engine. However, these developments can be at the expense of the qualities of the island – such as nature, the marine park with coral reefs, tranquility and space – and thus block economic growth in the long term. A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) (Strategische milieubeoordeling (SMB)) is therefore linked to the development plan.

In the SEA, based on the available data, two scenarios have been outlined, with the expected growth being translated into a spatial picture.

The first scenario assumes growth in the form of housing companies and recreational facilities through further densification (expansion) within the existing urban contours and by expansion in several contiguous areas that border (existing) areas (West Coast).
The second scenario is more extreme and involves developing much of the west coast from the boundary of the national park including undeveloped land inland to the south of Kralendijk.

Growth, while retaining the quality of nature, cultural identity must be sustainable and balanced. The report indicates five locations where the desired growth can be achieved, which have no significant effects on landscape and nature. Plantation Bolivia is NOT mentioned as a location for development.

According to the SMB, it would not even be necessary to use all five locations to meet the need, one or two would be enough to fulfill the need. A total of 3,980 houses can be built at those five locations. Three of the residential expansion locations have been included in the spatial development plan. The other two locations have been assigned a nature or open landscape designation. The intended growth for residents and tourists can easily be accommodated within the three residential locations.

Important natural values ​​on land include the Important Bird Areas (IBA), caves with endangered bat species and endemic invertebrates. Spatial development should be avoided as much as possible in ecologically valuable areas. The creation of corridor and buffer zones is desirable for adequate protection.



Urbanization impacts biodiversity and ecosystem services both directly and indirectly.

Direct impacts primarily consist of habitat loss and degradation, altered disturbance regimes, modified soils and other physical transformations caused by the expansion of urban areas. The most obvious direct impact of urbanization on biodiversity is landcover change.

Indirect impacts include changes in water and nutrient availability, increases in abiotic stressors such as air pollution, increases in competition from non-native species.

Destruction and degradation of natural ecosystems are the primary causes of declines in global biodiversity. Habitat destruction typically leads to fragmentation, the division of habitat into smaller and more isolated fragments separated by a matrix of human-transformed land cover. The loss of area increases in isolation, and greater exposure to human land uses along fragment edges initiate long-term changes to the structure and function of the remaining.

By protecting and restoring nature we can safeguard biodiversity, help limit warming, improve human well-being and even find protection from the consequences of climate change, like intensified flooding and storms.

To protect, restore and rewild the living world is probably the most effective solution we have at hand to fight both the climate- and ecological emergencies.

That’s why we do what we do:



Strategic environmental assessment (Strategische milieubeoordeling (SMB), June 2010
Sciences Advances, March 2015