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Saint Lucia's forest reserve shrinking says environment minister

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Contact:  Bynta Ernest


Friday 3 June 2011 Over the weekend, Saint Lucia joined the rest of the world in celebration and appreciation for the environment.  On June 5, 2011, World Environment Day was recognized, under the theme, “Forests: Nature at your service”.


Minister for Physical Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Local Government, and the Environment, Honourable Richard Frederick provided some insight into this year's theme.


“This year's theme stresses the importance of forests in terms of goods and services they offer humanity. The international year of forests and the forest focus of World Environment Day are intended to increase awareness about the importance of forests as an integral part of the sustainable development of the planet and about the economic, socio- cultural and environmental benefits that forests provide.”


This year's theme has special relevance to Saint Lucia's topography. According to Mr. Frederick, 35 percent of the landmass is covered by forested land. Sadly, Saint Lucia is experiencing the decimation of this resource.


“The forest inventory conducted by the Forestry Department in 2009 shows that forested areas in Saint Lucia are shrinking and continue to be degraded.


“While the real causes of deforestation and forest degradation are varied and complicated, it is however clear that human activity is to be blamed for the most part”


In an effort to sensitize the populace of the importance of such a resource and the need for conservation, a series of activities have been planned. Activities commenced as early as March 21, with a Forestry Exhibition, in addition to sensitization efforts through media  and public activities.


With the aim of getting the youth more involved in the environmental debate, a photo contest open to secondary school students will form part of the activities, as well as an island wide tree planting initiative.


The conclusion of activities is scheduled for the week of August 29, 2011 with the observance of Mr. Gabriel Charles Week. Mr. Charles was known by his contemporaries, as “the best known environmental stalwart on the island”.

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