Roseau, Dominica – May 7, 2008……… The efforts of the Division of Forestry, Wildlife and National Parks in the protection and management of Dominica’s key forests and other natural resources has been recognised by Senator the Hon. Dr. Colin McIntyre, Minister for Trade, Industry, Consumer and Diaspora Affairs.
Senator McIntyre, standing in for Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Matthew Walter who was out of state , made the remark at the 14th Caribbean Foresters’ Meeting held in Dominica recently.
The theme of the two-day Meeting was “Linking conservation, tourism and sustainable development in the Caribbean”.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Senator McIntyre noted that in addition to its focal role in conservation, the Forestry Division is a major player in maintaining the country’s eco-tourism thrust, having been primarily responsible for establishing and maintaining a number of trails and other pathways through the forest.
According to Dr. McIntyre, the Forestry Division has also actively collaborated with the Wammae Letang Group, a GEF -funded project based in the village of Laudat that offers boating on the Fresh Water Lake. The Division of Forestry has entrusted the group with the activities related to landscaping, trail maintenance and conservation of the surrounding areas with a commitment from the group to utilize part of the proceeds from rental of boats and kayak to undertake the said activities.
Dr. McIntyre, who is a former Minister of Agriculture, also stated that the Forestry Division is also coordinating the local component of the OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods (OPAAL) Project. The project aims to develop in each OECS member state a framework for managing protected areas so that the region’s biodiversity will be protected from further degradation.
Since May of 1982, the International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) has sponsored and organized in collaboration with other organisations in the region, a biennial meeting that brings together foresters and other government officials, who work in forest and natural resource management at the national level in the Caribbean region.
Dominica is an island of just under 300 square miles and can boast of having the highest percentage of forest cover in the Caribbean and with about 65% or more of its total land area under forests.
Since 1958, under the Forests Ordinance, the country has maintained two Forest Reserves, namely the Northern Forest Reserve and the Central Forest Reserve.
Dominica can also lay claim to three National Parks: the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, which was established in 1975 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the Morne Diablotin National Park, established in January, 2000 and the Cabrits National Park which was established in 1986.