Mapping the vegetation of Diego Garcia Island, British Indian Ocean Territory. November 2018

This report is an account of the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) Programme and the Spatial Analysis Teams of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Kew) expedition to the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) island of Diego Garcia (DG). The expedition took place from the 12th to the 28th November 2018. The visit was undertaken to enable ground truthing of the main and associated islands in order to validate, augment and give metrics for the vegetation map of these areas. The main objectives of the expedition were: - collect ground truth data on the terrestrial vegetation for Diego Garcia; - capture 360° imagery of the island as a baseline reference dataset for areas of special interest; - perform UAV flights (fixed wing) to capture as much of the island as possible; - collect data and plant material to increase our knowledge of native and invasive plant species, assemblages, abundance, habitats and overall distribution; - collect seeds and spores for RBG Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank for long‐term conservation and potentially for the island nursery to aid habitat restoration; - engage with BIOT scientific staff and military base volunteers on plant conservation activities. The expedition was undertaken with the consent of the British Indian Ocean Territory Administration, which provided the team with a research permit and funded by CCT’s John Topp Botanical Fund. The Kew field team consisted of Ms Sara Barrios and Mr Tim Wilkinson.
Sara Barrios
vegetation, Kew, mapping, Diego Garcia, BIOT, expedition, plants, Chagos