Forestry in Trinidad and Tobago and Climate Change
22 August, 2017: We have just over 4 billion hectares of forests in our world, representing about 31% of our land area. Alarmingly, each year 13 million hectares of forest are lost to deforestation or other land usage. Globally, dry forest and wet forest loss is daunting through climate change and human activities. However, afforestation and natural expansion in some countries have helped to reduce the overall net loss of global forested area.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the mission of the Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries is to sustainably manage the nation’s forests to ensure that they are abundant, ecologically healthy, biologically diverse and contribute to the wellbeing of all people and to the national economy for current and future generations. The Division’s goal is to sustainably manage the forest resources of Trinidad and Tobago, contribute to the sustainable development of the country; enhance the quality of human life while at the same time protecting biological diversity and ecological processes.
According to Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), 350 square acres of forest cover are destroyed daily worldwide; and climate change is one element that plays a mitigating factor in this. Climate change has affected the world and Trinidad and Tobago is not insulated. There is a microclimatic change occurring over the last 30 years because of deforestation.
What is being done to mitigate climate change in agriculture by the Forestry Division?
- producing over one million forest seedlings to reafforest plantations and degraded sites over the next year
- Project based reforestation programmes to establish over 220 ha of land annually
- Agro-forestry as evident by the St. Michael Hillside Demonstration Station
- An active and proactive Forestry Information Unit that visits schools/community, including farmers, educating all on forestry issues and agro forestry
- Forestry Incentive Unit with two thousand one hundred (2,100) registered private farmers which encourage planting of forest trees on unoccupied lands
- Forestry management in agricultural practices, which involves the planting of forest trees amongst cocoa and coffee plantations in Gran Couva Estate, Northern Range and the Hillside Demonstration Stations at Caura Valley and Maracas St, Joseph
Slash and burn agriculture, deforestation, land degradation via mining and human development have caused additional negative burden on our forests. The message therefore is clear ‘protect what we have and do not allow further deterioration for the future generations’.
The World Food Day National Committee (WFDNC) is entrusted to pursue constructive action addressing food related issues in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) global message for World Food Day (October 16, 2016 to October 15, 2017) is “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too” and states that ‘one of the biggest issues related to climate change is food security. The world’s poorest - many of whom are farmers, fishers and pastoralists - are being hit hardest by higher temperatures and an increasing frequency in weather-related disasters. At the same time, the global population is growing steadily and is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. To meet such a heavy demand, agriculture and food systems will need to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and become more resilient, productive and sustainable. This is the only way that we can ensure the wellbeing of ecosystems and rural populations and reduce emissions. Growing food in a sustainable way means adopting practices that produce more with less in the same area of land and use natural resources wisely. It also means reducing food losses before the final product or retail stage through a number of initiatives including better harvesting, storage, packing, transport, infrastructure, market mechanisms, as well as institutional and legal frameworks.’
For further information contact:
World Food Day National Committee of Trinidad and Tobago
Ministry of Agriculture Land and Fisheries
Extension Training and Information Services Division
Cor. Mausica and Caroni North Bank Roads, Centeno, Trinidad (WI)
Tel: 1-868-646-2737/8 | 646-3778