COUNTRY REPORT: FORESTRY OUTLOOK STUDY FOR THE CARIBBEAN
CURRENT STATUS OF THE FORESTRY SECTOR
Structure of the economy
Grenada is one of the world's chief exporters of the ''twin crop'' nutmeg and mace. Because of this, and the numerous other spices grown in lesser quantities, Grenada has come to be known internationally as the ''Isle of Spice''. Other agricultural produces are cocoa, banana, coconut, sugarcane, citrus and a profusion of fruits and vegetables. Table 1 shows balance of trade and exports of agricultural, manufactured and other products.
Table 1: Balance of trade and selected exports in Grenada from 1995-1999
Balance of Trade
Total Recorded Domestic Exports
Paint and Varnish
The Grenada economy attained a favourable growth rate of 5.8% in 1998, compared with a growth rate of 4.2% and 2.9% for the year 1997 and 1996 respectively. This is a result of higher levels of manufacturing activity, buoyancy in the construction sector, falling inflation and a stable financial sector. Other sectors influencing the growth attained in 1998 were:-, electricity & water, mining & quarrying, agriculture and tourism. These sectors recorded growth rates of 8.0%, 11%, and 2.1% respectively. These growth rates are evidence that the economy is on a path of sustainable growth.
The Offshore Financial sector established in 1997, has shown positive growth in 1998 and is expected to continue significantly to the economy in the medium term. Increased government revenues, heighten employment opportunities and increase levels of foreign exchange are anticipated from this Financial Sector.
The economic prospect for 1999 is for an expected growth rate of 6.1% and 7% in the year 2000. Growth in output of the agricultural sector, expanding construction and manufacturing activities, as well as , other financial services are also anticipated to stimulate growth in the medium term.
NB: At present import duties and taxes account for approximately 50% of Government revenue. The Grenada currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC) of 100 cents. (The exchange rate is $2.7169 to the US$. (1999).
There is no national economic policy for Grenada. However strong domestic economic management is imperative to our national goal of sustaining economic growth. In this regard a comprehensive fiscal review will be undertaken during the year 2000 to inform Government's fiscal and economic policy formulations. The scope of this review will include all taxes, concessions and other incentives.
Despite the above, the present administration will implement a five point strategy for growth, equity, and poverty eradication. These include:
(a) sustaining growth in the national economy, through an increased level of investment activities. This in turn, will require higher levels of domestic savings;
(b) providing greater opportunities for the poor and disadvantaged in our society, to actively participate in the growth process, and also, to share in the benefits of growth;
(c) providing additional safety nets for the very poor and disadvantaged;
(d) creating an institutional framework to promote rural development;
(e) modernization of the state machinery, for the more effective delivery of services to the private sector, and the rural economy.
Politically, Grenada can be described as a country with a stable democratic Government. The present New National Party (NNP) under the leadership of Dr. Keith Mitchell won all 15 seats in the 1998 general election.
Environmental, social and economic importance of trees and forests
Environmental importance of trees and forest
regulation of local climate- increased evapo-transpiration, reduction in climatic extremes, slowing the horizontal movement of air;
maintenance of environmental stability- Reduction of soil erosion, flooding, landslides and protection to agricultural crops from the wind;
storage and supply of water;
increased shade and aesthetics;
habitat and food for wildlife.
Social and economic importance of trees and forests
supply of forest products- timber, posts, poles, split fencing, wildlife, supply of NWFP, water production, dyes, honey and wax, exudates (gum, resin);
create employment (directly and indirectly).
3. Other lands
5. National parks/protected areas
Land use policy - lack of a land use policy for Grenada
Grenada has no land use policy. Such a policy is needed to designate areas into land use categories. Forest on both private and crown lands are converted into other land uses without consideration to the functions of that forest.
Area of forests & other woodlands
In 1982, Eschweiler, estimated the area of Grenada and Carriacou that are covered by forests and woodlands as shown in Table 1. According to Miller, et al (1988), about 11 860 acres (4 800 ha) of nominally forested land belong to the Government, including the GrandEtang forest Reserve and Crown Lands. The Caribbean Conservation Association (CCA), noted in 1991, a forested area of 9 800 acres (3 966 ha) and woodland and scrub 7 360 acres (2 979 ha) for Grenada and 450 acres (182 ha) of forests and 2 475 acres (1 110 ha) of woodlands and scrub in Carriacou.
Table 3. Area of forests and woodlands in Grenada
(Area in Ha.)
% of Total area
Woodland and scrub
(Source: CCA, 1991)
Main physical forest types
Beard (1949) classified Grenada's forest into the following type. - Cloud forests (Elfin woodlands, palm Brake and Montane Thicket); Rain Forests and Montane Rain Forests; Evergreen and Semi-Seasonal Forests; Deciduous Forests and Cactus Scrub; Littoral woodlands, Mangrove swamps and inland Swamps. Weaver (1989) produced a map to show the distribution of Climax forest types in Grenada. Eschweiler (1982), estimated the areas of forest types (Table 4).
Table 4. Eschweiler estimates of forest types in Grenada
Montane Rain Forest (Elfin woodlands/Palm Brake)
Closed Evergreen Forests (Secondary rain Forests/ Lower Montane rain forests
Moist Deciduous and Semi-Deciduous Forests
Abandoned crop land and grazing land
Scrub / Cactus Vegetation
Cloud forests exist on the upper summits of the highest mountains, where precipitation is above 4 000 mm per year and relative humidity and exposure increases. The formation consists of Elfin Woodlands in association with Palm Break and scattered tree ferns.
Rain Forests and Lower Montane Rain Forests occur below the cloud forests where rainfall exceeds 2 500 mm per year, temperature higher and exposure less than above. The two formations have little differences in floristic composition. The Upper Montane Forest contains smaller trees than the Lower Montane Forests. Dacryodes excelsa is the dominant species, reaching heights of 30 m-35 m.
Evergreen and semi-evergreen forests are found in areas where rainfall averages 2 000 mm-2 500 mm per year. Morne Delice Hill, a 20 ha forest block is an intact area of moist forest. It is located in the south of the island in a cloud tract and gets more rain than expected. Tabebuia pallida, Manilkaara bidentata, Bursera simaruba and Bois bonde are the principal species.
Deciduous forests occupy the lower elevations. Rainfall in these areas range from 1 000 mm to 2 000 mm per year for five months. They exist in the north and south in a degraded condition.
Littoral Woodlands are found along the coast but most have been wiped out. Conocarpus erectus, Jacquinia barbosca and Tabebuia form the edge of the Levera Woodland. Behind is a mixture of species including Coccolobis uvifera, Pisonis fragrans, Hipponame manchinella and Erithalis fruticosa.
GrandEtang forest reserve
GrandEtang forests was declared a Forest Reserve in 1906. The region is concentrated between 450-760 m elevation. In the approximate centre of the reserve is the GrandEtang Crater Lake. The reserve contains the best remnants of Rain and Lower Montane rain forests found on the island.
Two inventories occurred in the reserve. In 1978, the entire natural forest area (about 1 000 ha) was inventoried (Potter and Potter, 1979). An area of 575 ha from this inventoried area in the Great River Basin was proposed for intensive forest management (FAO, 1981). The area was estimated to contain 50 000 cubic meters of recoverable timber. Doubts were expressed in 1983 about the feasibility of the proposal. Another inventory was conducted in 1985, because the first lacked information on tree species by diameter class and absence of field data.
An area of 546 ha, south of the St. George's to Grenville road, was inventoried (Johnson, 1985). This area was divided into an exploitable zone (< 30 degrees slope) and a non-exploitable zone (>30 degrees slope). One hundred and fifty nine hectares, containing 84% of rain forests, fall in the exploitable zone. Gommier (Dacryodes excelsa) is the dominant species, accounting for a standing volume of 128 cubic meter per hectare out of a total for all species of 144 m3/ha in trees over 40 cm dbh. The following gross volumes of timber were found:
Over 10 cm dbh
33 600 m3
(Gommier - 23 400m3)
Over 40 cm dbh
23 100 m3
(Gommier - 20 600 m3)
Over 50 cm dbh
20 500 m3
(Gommier - 18 800 m3)
Total Exploitable Volume
62 800 m3
Johnson (1985), recommended logging to be confined to the 190 ha exploitable zone, plus a 90 ha plantable area in blue mahoe plantations and secondary scrub. No logging should occur on slopes above 30 degrees or closer than 2m to the main river.
Grenada contains 21 pockets (190 ha) of mangroves along the Eastern coastline from Levera to Telescope, and along the eastern coastline from Requin to True Blue. They form a thin fringe at Mt. Hatman Bay, Worburn Bay and Calivigny. The largest areas are at levera, Conference, Upper Pearls, Westerhall and Calivigny.
Four species of mangroves are found - Red mangrove (Avenciana racemosa), Black mangrove (Conocarpus erectus), the Button mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) and White mangrove (Laguncularis racemosa).
The GrandEtang Forest Reserve contains approximately 166 ha of exotic plantations established from 1957. Plantations are located at St. Margarets, GrandEtang, Vendome, Les Avocats, Panama and Petit Etang.
The main reason for plantation establishment are - to reforest degraded lands; to control soil erosion and maintain watershed; to reduce pressures on natural forests; to improve the economy of the country by reducing imports of forest products; to increase production of specific forest products and to create employment opportunities especially in the economically depressed rural areas (CCA, 1991)
Blue mahoe (Hibiscus elatus), is the main species which occupies about 75% of plantations. Pines (Pinus Caribaea), account for about 20%, and mahogany and cupressus lusitanica, 5%. Most of the plantations are located on steep slopes with poor accessibility.
The results of an inventory in 1989 indicated that pines are capable of achieving yields of 15-20 m3/ ha/yr, on better sites and 11-15 m3/ha/yr on poorer sites over a 25 year rotation. Blue mahoe, on sheltered, fertile sites. yields 9 m3, and 6 m/ha/yr, on poorer sites. Rotation ages of 20-25 years for pines and 30-35 years for blue mahoe have been estimated. About 40 ha of blue mahoe plantations had been salvaged and replaced by pines. The value of planting pines however, had been questioned and the practice had been discontinued.
Over the years, the Forestry Department have been selectively harvesting blue mahoe Les Avocats, and Vendome, for timber, split-fence, and posts production. Several blue mahoe plantations at Les Avocats, St. Margarets and Vendome have been replaced with pines.
In 1994, blue mahoe trees at Les Avocats and Annandale were severely affected by the pink mealy bug. Many trees at Les Avocats died as a result of the attack.
PRESENT STATUS OF FOREST RESOURCES
No systematic attempts have been made to monitor changes in forest cover since Beard. Cloud forests have suffered little degradation and are presently under no serious treat. Most of the lower Montane rain forest, except in the upper watershed of the Great River, has disappeared. Agricultural crops have replaced most of the forests in the middle elevations. Remnants of deciduous forests exist in the south and north. In the south housing development is the major threat to forest loss, while in the north charcoal burning and grazing on privately owned mangrove forests at Conference and Pearls are exploited for charcoal production.
FORESTRY PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Information about industrial forest products is already held by FAO. This section discusses information about non-industrial forest products and services.
Woodfuels and wood energy
In Grenada Woodfuels are not used on a large scale, due to the fact that mainly propane gas are used for domestic and industrial purposes. The quantity of woodfuel produced and utilized is minimal. Firewood and charcoal are utilized in rural poor communities for the production of coconut oil, baking bread/cakes, roasting corn, barbecue (chicken, pork etc.), and to a small extent cooking. Figures are not readily available for production and consumption.
There is no established fuelwood plantation on the island, however fuelwood are collected from farm clearance for agricultural purposes and from dry fallen trees in wooded, mangrove and forested areas.
Use of charcoal is declining throughout Grenada, but there is some degree of production within wood and farmlands. This is mainly when the plot of land is cleared for building, and the charcoal producer does the clearance in return for the use of the wood to make charcoal. No data are available.
Wood supplies from non-forest areas
Most of the wood supplies from the above areas come from farms and wooded areas. Traditionally wood are selectively harvested from windbreaks and edge of farm lands. The species harvested are Mahogany (Swietenia mahogani), White cedar, Galba (Calofilium lucidum), Maruba (Simaruba amara) and bullet (Manilcara bidentata). These species are sold to individuals with mobile saws who usually convert on site or transport to small sawmills for conversion. No records are kept by the mill owners or farmers relative to the volume harvested and converted. After conversion timber is sold to small furniture manufacturers / woodworkers, boat-builders and other interested parties.
Non-wood forest products (NWFP) an overview
NWFP are often important to varying degrees for the livelihoods of some households and local communities. In Grenada there are some communities and households which are heavily dependant on NWFP's, for either earning a living, subsistence, or for personal uses.
However the availability of statistical data and NWFP are scarce or improperly documented, and data are not consistent. Up to date, two studies have been conducted:
(a) the socio-economic importance of NWFP used in Grenada, by Dr Justine Dunn of the Grenada Forestry Department (1998), during the Grenada Forest Policy Development Process;
(b) investigation of medicinal plants in Grenada (St. George's University School of medicine) by Barry J. Polity, MD, Msc. Candidate 1995.
In the past NWFP had been neglected by foresters and researchers, so most NWFP studies rely on informal interviews with NWFP harvesters and users.
Major NWFPs/harvesting and use (plant and plant products)
Screwpine (Pandanus utilis)
Screwpine is a stilt-rooted woody plant with long 'cane-like' leaves which grows in some coastal areas of Grenada. The leaves are harvested, boiled green then dried in sun prior to processing. The major products are as follows:
small square souvenir baskets with cover (e.g. spices, jewellery etc.), which are sold to tourist and locals;
hats, bags, floor and table mats, waste paper and baby baskets etc.
For many producers of screw pine products the sale of these is the household's major or only source of income, and is thus highly socio-economically important in a small geographical area. Currently there is a scarcity of raw material in the immediate locality of the major production/handicraft areas, and most producers have to travel long distances to access the material.
NB: Screwpines are not planted in plantations and are not managed. Can be found growing on farms and around communities with no management system in place. Screwpine, however is easy to grow (vegetative propagation) and harvesting can only begin 18 months after planting. The scarcity of land has prevented the souvenir producers from growing they own supply of raw material.
Bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris)
Has varied uses throughout Grenada. It is important in house construction as a support for moldings during building construction, and as a raw material in the production of different handicrafts ranging from spice baskets to shopping baskets and brooms. Some villages are heavily dependent on the production of handicrafts from bamboo. As such bamboo availability and harvesting (fell tree and cut to required lengths). Bamboo therefore should be seen as having a high socio- economic importance in those areas, and Grenada generally.
Presently there is a concern about the supply of bamboo. The major concern is with the handicraft producers competing with the construction industry and many people are finding it necessary to go further into the forest and cut immature bamboo in order to obtain adequate supplies.
For medicinal use
Many Grenadians have made use of herbal medicines at some point and as such the use of NWFP for production of medicine takes place in many households , in a study carried out in 1996, over 80% of people interviewed used herbal medicines (staff,1997). In quantitative terms the use of NWFP for medicine is small and tend to treat self limiting illnesses such as colds/flu and stomach disorders also diabetes are treated with herbal remedies.
Herbal remedies tend to be used more readily by older people and rastafarian and is them who suggest that most people 'specially' the younger who would rather 'run to the doctor or pharmacy straight away, before trying a traditional remedy' there is a few people who obtain a large portion of their income from making and distributing herbal medicines, but again this is a practice which seems to be dying out as 'modern medicines' is depended upon by most people.
It may be useful for any management or NWFP in the future to examine the issues of patenting particular species for their medicinal properties and their potential for use in pharmaceutical industry. Although there are a few species which are only found only in Grenada, it would be beneficial to become involve in any regional effort of this type.
NWFP in agriculture
Grazing is common throughout Grenada, where livestock graze areas under woodland or forest cover, it may be possible to view the fodder as NWFP. NTFP are also used in agricultural production e.g. 'Boisden' poles are used to support passion fruit vines, and can be cut from Gliricidia sepium trees which produce hard poles. In some areas there is a shortage of these poles. Some of the products coming from trees on farms or agroforestry systems can also be viewed as NWFP and these can include fodder, wood to make charcoals, poles and leaf litter as mulch or green manure.
Major Issues related to NWFP
Permits/records of resource use : Many people are unsure about the introduction of permit for the collection of NWFP's, may be due to not paying for a resource that has been free up to present time. In most cases NWFP resource does not appear to be under threat from overuse, but some may need to be more carefully managed in the future.
'Hidden' NWFP use: The use of some NWFP's do not register as having an obvious socio-economic impact, but still contribute to individual household economies, especially those living adjacent to NWFP resources. These may include NWFP's use for food or medicinal purposes or the use of forested areas for grazing.
Supplies of NWFP's: The availability of a particular NWFP especially as a raw material for the production of handicrafts and the construction industry, has great bearing on the socio-economic impact of those NWFP's in some areas.
NWFP's from farm and other private lands: A large portion come from farm and bush land. Consideration needs to be taken of all areas which are potential suppliers of NWFP's .
Most of Grenada's 71 watersheds falls within forest or forested areas which offers natural protection to watersheds in terms of ground cover, soil stability, infiltration, ground water recharge, water quality etc.
In the past there was no coordinated approach towards watershed management with any particular Government department or other institutions having the mandate for managing or protecting watersheds.
During the Grenada Forest Policy Development Process/Strategic Planning, proposals have been made to establish an 'Upland Watershed Management Unit' with specific goals, objectives and area of geographical responsibilities for a 10 year strategic period (see attached WSM strategic plan).
Recreation and tourism
Grenada's forest offers tourism and recreational opportunities, however this is still in the early development stage. Soft to moderate ecotourism opportunities exist presently.
Within forest many sites and attractions exists. Waterfalls, Rivers, natural exotic fauna and flora, steep rugged terrain and network of trails can be found within Grenada's forest.
Primarily stay-over visitors visit forest for recreation (hiking, mountain climbing, camping and viewing wildlife). Recently there is an introduction of cruise-ship passengers to ecotourism sites. The number of cruise-ship visitors to ecotourism sites is increasing (Statistics are not readily available).