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Environmental Vulnerability Index for the Island of Tobago, West Indies

Marissa N Gowrie, University of the West Indies

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Abstract

This study investigated the environmental vulnerability index (EVI) for the island of Tobago. Based on the EVI study developed by the South Pacific Applied Geosciences Commission (SOPAC), the vulnerability index was determined for anthropogenic, meteorological, biological, and geological events and for general country characteristics. Written requests for information were made through appropriate government ministries, state agencies, private companies, and other environmental organizations, and the relevant data were obtained from available documents or interviews with appropriate professionals. These data were then used to calculate the values of the environmental indicators as directed by SOPAC, and the overall EVI for Tobago was determined by the average score of all these indicators. The results of the research revealed that, on a holistic level, the island of Tobago scored relatively low on the EVI scale. Although most indicators received a score of 4 or less, selected indicators received scores of 6 and 7, which indicated a high vulnerability for these indicators. It was found that the indicators with the highest scores were mostly anthropogenic in origin or could be traced to some man-made influence. It was concluded that Tobago's vulnerability could to a large extent be controlled by vigilant management of the island's resources, coupled with information sharing between the agencies governing these resources.

Key words

environmental vulnerability index, South Pacific Applied Geosciences Commission, Tobago, anthropogenic hazards, calculation method
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087