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Lyndon John



St. Lucia is located at 13_ 55´ North latitude and 60_ 59´ West longitude. It is one of the Windward Islands, located between Martinique (21 miles north) and St. Vincent (26 miles south).

History and government

In the Pre-Columbian era, prior to 1499, settlement on the island was first by the Ciboneys, then the Arawak and Carib peoples. St. Lucia was colonized in the seventeenth century by the British and the French. St. Lucia gained independence within the Commonwealth on February 22, 1979. In terms of government St. Lucia is a constitutional monarchy. Executive power is vested in the British sovereign as head of state represented in St. Lucia by the Governor General. The appointment of Governor General is on the advice of the Prime Minister. The seventeen member House of Assembly is elected by democratic electoral process for up to a five-year term.

Socio-economic factors


616 sq. km.


159 000 (1997)

Reproductive rate (1991)


Population Density

216 per sq. km.

Adult Literacy

Approx. 80-85%

Gross Domestic Product


GNP per capita

US$3 510 (1997)


US$79.5 million


US$270.5 million

Public external debt

US$128 million

Visitor expenditure

US$269 million

Banana production

105.6 million tons

Banana revenue

US$46.8 million

Source: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and government statistical data (1996)

The agricultural economy

St. Lucia's total acreage is 152 214 acres of which 33.7% (51 328 acres) is under agriculture. Just one economic indicator is sufficient to highlight the predominant position of bananas, at EC 128.1 million it is equal to 47% of total export earnings and 89% of agricultural exports. Apart from this obvious impact on the economy, other sectors such as input suppliers, packaging, transport, road construction and port handling are all involved, and the Government benefits through taxes, duties and port handling charges.

Unofficial estimates put banana cultivation at 15 000 acres, out of a total cultivated area of 39 000. Preliminary results of the 1996 Agricultural Census put the figure at 19 000. Assuming an average of 5.5 members per household and around 5,200 SLBGA registered banana farmers, the number of people fully or partly dependant on banana production can be estimated at 29 000. When including a conservation average of 0.2 permanent paid workers per acre, this figure increases to 32 000, representing around 39% of the total labour force or 1 in 3 of the inhabitants of St. Lucia.

The profitability of bananas is highly variable and is influenced by a whole range of factors. A typical hillside farmer having 3 acres of bananas and using few inputs, a yield of 7 tonnes per acre and a sale price of 31 cents per. lb. would expect a return to his own labour of EC $6,885. The lack of alternative employment opportunities probably justifies his decision to stay in production. At the other extreme, a valley bottom farmer, using higher inputs and obtaining a target yield of 13 tonnes per acre would get returns of EC$2 620 from his bananas and EC $4 981 from his labour, total of EC $7 601 per acre, or, for an average valley bottom farm of 5.5 acres, $41 805 per annum.

Between 90% and 97% of Windward Island bananas have traditionally been absorbed by the lucrative UK market, and have until recently enjoyed protected status and preferential treatment. The UK together with other EU countries has more recently seen a levelling off in demand, and since 1993, banana imports have been open to competition from dollar bananas from Latin-America (GOSL 1997).

Forestry department

The primary institution involved in forest management in St. Lucia is the Department of Forestry of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and the Environment. It is headed by a Chief Forest Officer, who also assumes the functions of Chief Wildlife Officer under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1980. The Chief Forest Officer reports to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture. There is a position of Deputy Chief Forest Officer. Operations are organized into two main areas; forestry operations and forestry conservation. Each one is headed by an Assistant Chief. The major programme areas are; Forestry administration, forest management, watershed management, wildlife management, ecotourism, environmental education, germplasm production and the national herbarium. At present, staff of the department includes 48 permanent positions, including administrative personnel. The island is subdivided into five ranges, each of which is administered by a Range Officer and two Forest Officers. Specialized appointments exist for research, wildlife, nursery, surveying and cartography.

Forest resources

Introduction; Island area: 61 500 ha.; forest cover 23 157 ha (16 621 rainforest, 7 515 dry scrub forest, 2 666 in grass and open woodland, (GOSL 1993). The forest reserve consists of 7 500 ha. total, of which 6 607 ha. compose the natural forest and 263 ha. under plantation. 1 560 ha. of Crown lands are under natural habitats. There is a 4 500 ha. parrot sanctuary (95% within the Government Forest Reserve). Forested private lands (14 170 ha.), represents 10% of total private land (GOSL 1993).

Natural vegetation types

The rainforest; dominant vegetation of the mountain slopes. Main tree species, gommier (Dacryodes excelsa) and various Sloanea. The forest canopy typically (30-40 m) in height lower montane rain forest: in higher elevations, plant composition and structure of the forest change, with lower canopy. Dominant species include Licania ternatensis and the palmiste (Euterpe globosa). Elfin woodland; or cloud forest occurs on highest peaks. Trees are adapted to high rainfall, shallow soil and windy conditions and a lower temperature regime.

Xerophytic forest; natural dry forest, typically in the coastal region, most frequently converted for development. Primarily secondary woodland consisting of regenerating forest interspersed with cultivation. White cedar (Tabebuia pallida) is the dominant species.

Dry scrub woodland; driest portions of the island, dominant species (Haemotoxylon campechianum), various species of the Acacia, cacti and Coccoloba grandifolia.

Mangrove area; There are at least 14 key mangrove areas in St. Lucia. They are predominantly on the East coast (Mankote, Savannes Bay, Esperance, Anse Louvet, Praslin and Marigot). Dominant species occurring are Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa and Conocarpus erecta. Several areas have been destroyed over the years. (Beard 1944, Portecorp J. and Benito Espinal 1985).

Plantations and natural forest

The earliest plantations were established in 1938. The primary species established were blue mahoe (Hibiscus elatus), Honduras mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla),Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea), Leucaeana leucocephala, and Gmelina (Gmelina arborea). The main plantation areas are located at Edmond Forest, Quillesse, Barre de L'Isle and Union. The largest single plantation is 85.4 ha in the Edmund forest. The total standing volume for these species is 45 722.7 m3 (Table 1). There is a mean annual increment of 6.7 m3/ha/year for blue mahoe, a mean annual increment of 8.6 m3/ha/year for Honduras mahogany, and a mean annual increment of 9.0 m3/ha/year for Caribbean pine. The mean annual increment for the natural forest (tropical moist to subtropical rainforest) is 1.6 m3/ha/year (Plitz 1983). The Forest Reserves comprises of 14 units located mainly in the central ridge of the island. Approximately 4.5 miles of road in Forest Reserve. Timber production consists of small-scale cutting and extraction by selective tree felling. Conversion is often done by pit-saw technique and more commonly by the Alaskan mill chain saw. Most harvesting occurs on private lands. No commercial harvesting is done from the Forest Reserve.

Table 1. St. Lucia timber plantation volumes (m3)

Age Classes

Blue Mahoe

Honduras Mahogany

Mixed Stands

(BM & HM)

Caribbean Pine


Class 1






Class 2

5 974.3

1 478.7

2 335.3


9 788.3

Class 3

9 197.0

8 999.2

14 176.3

2 656.7

35 029.2


15 562.1

10 648.8

16 628.6

2 883.2

45 722.7

Source: St. Lucia Management & Conservation Project (1989)


Historically, most of the "Common Property resources" came under an open access regime that led to excessive exploitation. The demand for agricultural land was largely responsible for deforestation. In the 1980's deforestation was estimated at 1.9% per annum due to banana cultivation. Most likely this rate has declined due to a faltering banana industry (GOSL 1993). More recently, the development of residential construction and the access road network are more prominent in the process of deforestation. Within the past six years the area occupied by squatters in the Forest Reserve has been reduced from 320 ha to 100 ha.


The most important material extracted from forest is charcoal which is a primary source of fuel for a majority of households. It is primarily taken from dry forest and mangrove. It is often an incidental product from land clearing for shifting cultivation. Other non-timber products include latanier (Cocothrinax barbadensis) used in broom production for local consumption and export, L'encens (Protium attenuatum) used in incense production, and bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris) in construction industry. Most of the local timber felled for construction occurs on private lands. The Forestry Department obtains some data on the species being converted and the origin of the converted material by means of the timber removal permit system. The system provides an estimated 75% capture of the actual conversion occurring due to poor enforcement (Table 2).

Table 2: Summation of timber volumes extracted from prioritized species from the forestry department for the periods 1983-90 &1995-98; summation of timber volumes extracted for the periods 1983-90 & 1995-98.

Species #

Vernacular Name

Scientific Name

Total Volume (m³)1983-90

Total Volume (m³)1995-98

Total Volume (m³)1983-90 &1995-98


Honduras Mahogany

Swietenia macrophylla






Dacryodes excelsa





Lowyé Mabwé

Ocotea leucoxylon





White Cedar

Tabebuia pallida





Bwa Blan

Simarouba amara





Bwa Damand

Hieronyma caribae





Blue Mahoe

Hibiscus elatus





Red Cedar

Cedrela odorata





Bwa kwéyòl

Myrcia deflexa





Bwapen Mawon

Talauma dodecapetala





Dry Wood






La Glu

Sapium caribaeum





Caribbean pine

Pinus Caribaea




Source: Forestry Department Timber Removal Permit Data, 1999.

Trees are increasingly used outside forests for a variety of purposes ranging from windbreaks and fencing to riverbank protection and ornamental. The Forestry Department has sought to meet demands by expanding the range of species produced by its nursery under the germplasm programme (Table 3). Suitable agroforestry tree crops such as avocado, breadfruit, cocoa, coconut grapefruit, mango, orange are already major economic crops on the island (Table 4).

Table 3: Union nursery seedling production between 1996-1999






Blue Mahoe (BR)





Blue Mahoe (CS)





Honduras Mahogany (BR)

28 000




Honduras Mahogany (CS)





C. Pine



8 058

Reforestation / Ornamental

Cupressus lucitanica

3 028



Christmas tree production










Ornamental / Reforestation





Riverbank protection





Riverbank protection










Reforestation /Agroforestry





Research /Reforestation











Source: Forestry Department (CS: containerized stock, BR: Bare root stock) 1999.

Table 4: Estimated crop (tonnes) production 1992-1996








143 139.7

140 057.2

96 591.5

119 177.6

112 132.8








4 098.0

5 039.5

3 583.8

2 622.5














Sweet Orange










1 182.4









2 644.0

2 318.4

2 045.3

1 968.8

1 999.5

Sour Sop







2 541.6

2 197.1

3 245.2

1 846.0

1 959.4

Source: Planning and Statistical Unit, Ministry of Agriculture.


Woodfuels and wood energy

Charcoal and firewood combined account for 83% of St. Lucia's fuel supply (Giasson 1992). Current estimates show 24 994 TOE* (Tonnes of Oil Equivalent)- (Planning, Development, & Environment, IPCC data (1999). Firewood accounts for approximately 4% of the total. The average rural household utilizes 400-600 lbs./yr. Approximately 8.6 lbs. of fuelwood produces 1 lb. of charcoal. On an annual basis the average rural household consumes 3 500-4 500 lbs. of fuelwood. Wilkinsons (1984) calculations based on CPU's 1981 data that the household annual fuelwood consumption was 6 200 lbs., the survey shows that present annual consumption/household has dropped by 35.5%. Charcoal use is steadily being replaced by propane gas for the rural households (Forestry Management Plan, 1993). Current research on woodfuel and charcoal is unavailable.

Recreation and tourism

St. Lucia has long distinguished itself as a prime tourism destination. It has been one of the earliest of the Eastern Caribbean islands to tap into North America, South America and Europe markets. Features such as political stability, its range of natural diversity and a mild climate have maintained a veteran tourism industry." According to Bryden (1973), St. Lucia became an early tourism leader in the Eastern Caribbean with an annual growth rates exceeding 20% for stay over visitors between 1961-68" (CCA,1991).

The island has over decades protected its forest and wildlife resources through the enactment of legislation, the establishment of forest reserves, national parks, and conservation areas. It is important that conservation ideas yields tangible economic benefits to the government and the community. St. Lucia has sought to develop policies favourable to the development of ecotourism. There are a number of issues arising from the growth of the tourism sector in relation to the use of the forest resources of St. Lucia.

The definition of the role of the Forestry Department vis-à-vis that of communities, private sector interests, and other government agencies.

The Department sees its role as focussing on:

_ facilitating of design and adoption of standards;

_ provision of training;

_ provision of technical assistance;

_ establishment and the management of trails.

The relationship between government agencies and community groups involved in ecotourism initiatives indicate:

_ the need for standards of quality, to avoid negative environmental impacts, to guarantee visitor satisfaction, and to ensure ecotourism activities are profitable and sustainable;

_ the need for the development and acquisition of skills;

_ the need for an organized and effective arrangement to market ecotourism sites and activities in a manner which preserves their character and enhances the benefits derived by local consumers (Reynard, 1999).

The interest in the island's natural resources was pushed by the growing desire of tourists to visit natural areas. To facilitate this, in 1991 St. Lucia Forestry Department requested assistance in rehabilitating its Central Rainforest Trail. The Canadian government repaired the access road, while RARE Centre contributed to the rehabilitation of the trail itself. External funding by CIDA and RARE was effectively used to leverage fiscal contributions from the local government in a ratio about 2:1. Trail construction commenced in 1992. In its first full year of operation the trail generated US$40 680 for the Forestry Department. This figure about equals the total capital invested in the trail by the Saint Lucian Government. Recurrent labour and material costs amounted to US$28 809, while depreciation was estimated at US$5 000 per annum. Therefore in 1993-94 annual recurrent expenditure (including depreciation) amounted to US$33 809 set against an income of $40 680. This leaves Forestry Department with an annual profit of US$6 871 or about 17% of the total revenue (RARE, 1995).

Forest tours have increased with the opening of new trails generating the largest share (56%) of the total revenue generated for the Department (Table 5). This compares to "Forest Produce" (sale of trees, royalties) at 38%, and chainsaw licenses (5%) (Table 6).

Table 5. Nature trail visitor and revenue data




Revenue (EC)


Barre d'lisle

9 926

235 603.5


Des Bott

1 099

10 360.0



23 554

19 949.5


Edmond Forest

14 871

298 143.3


Embas Saut

2 834

55 184.0


Des Cartier

11 934

303 965



64 118

923 205.3

Source: Forestry Department, 1999

Table 6. Forestry Department Revenue (1991-1999)












15 841

16 737

56 917

116 730

75 406

111 182

243 561

221 992

232 744

Forest Produce

46 075

21 035

62 256

86 949

54 828

84 831

69 919

67 207

61 821

Rental & Registration


10 520

7 365

All figures in this table are in Eastern Caribbean dollars (US$1.00 = EC$2.7)

Total Revenue; 97/98-324 329, 98/99-303 522; 99/(to present) - 301 930 (MAFFE)

Watershed protection and management

The primary function of forests in St. Lucia is the preservation of water supply. The terrain is steep with incised valleys. This coupled with heavy rainfall and relatively short river runs heighten the need for watershed protection. Rainfall ranges from 57 inches at Hewannora in the south to136 inches in the Central Rainforest. There are 37 main watersheds corresponding to 37 main watercourses each of which are at various states of utilisation or degradation. The effects of agriculture have impacted all the major watersheds with some catchments totally deforested. There are seven major river basins (Marquis, Roseau, Vieux Fort, Cannelles, Troumassee, Fond d'Or and Cul de Sac rivers) which supply most of the water used for domestic, agricultural and industrial purposes. Groundwater storage is insignificant due to an impermeable volcanic substrata.

Non-wood forest products

Traditional use of non-wood forest products has occurred historically in St. Lucia. Rural communities have utilized a greater share of this resource than the urban sector which has traditionally demanded the timber resources. With the exception of the harvest of liannes for which a permit is obtained from the Department, all the other products listed have not been regulated and some are threatened in the wild. The main items in demand are:

_ Latanier (Cocothrinax barbadensis); used in broom production. Sales occur in rural and urban areas. It faces competition from imported plastic brooms. Statistics on the size of the market and the levels of harvest from the wild are currently unavailable;

_ L'encense (Protium attenuatum); used in the production of incense. The latex is tapped from the tree. The intensity of the demand is causing a decline of the species as trees are virtually girdled in the attempt to tap the latex;

_ Mauby (Colubrina elliptica); used in the production of a fermented drink. The bark and twigs are often harvested. The bark is favoured for production purposes. This species is highly sought and therefore endangered locally. The local market is reportedly supplemented with stocks from St. Vincent;

_ Gommier (Dacryodes excelsa); The timber has traditionally been used in the production of canoes. The latex is also tapped and used for various indigenous purposes. Tapping for latex in extreme circumstances girdles the tree;

_ Various flowers are harvested including local orchids (Oncidium spp.). There are no statistics available on the rate of collection;

_ A variety of seeds are harvested for the production of jewellery and crafts. Liannes are also used in the craft industry.

Forestry policies, legislation, and institutions

The main legal instruments governing forest use and management are the following:

_ the Forest, Soil and Water Conservation Ordinance of 1946, amended in 1957 and 1983. This legislation empowers the Minister of Agriculture to establish Forest Reserves on Crown Lands as well as Protected Forests on private lands. It stipulates the conditions for timber harvesting, makes provision for the control of squatting, and defines various other offences;

_ the Wildlife Protection Act of 1980 places the authority for wildlife legislation in the hands of the Minister of Agriculture, and makes provisions for the conservation and management of wildlife, through the listing of species, the establishment of reserves, and the setting of fines for a variety of offences;

_ the Crown Lands Ordinance of 1946 establishes the position of Commissioner of Crown Lands and sets the conditions for the management and acquisition of Crown Lands;

_ the Water and Sewerage Authority Act of 1984 establishes the Authority and gives it some power for the conservation and management of watersheds. It allows it to request the Chief Forest Officer to take specific action required for watershed management, conservation or rehabilitation;

_ the Land Conservation and Improvement Act of 1992 establishes a Land Conservation Board and gives it a broad mandate with respect to the management of land and water resources. It enables the Board to deal with the issues of deforestation and inappropriate practices on private land.

_ The main policy document governing the forestry sector in St. Lucia is the forest management plan for 1992-2002 (GOSL 1993). Its goal is to "protect and conserve the natural resources for the protection of the environment and to obtain maximum utilisation consistent with sustainable development with regard to the welfare of the rural communities and the country as a whole. It has been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Policy guidance also is or will be provided by three sectoral plans that are all directly related to the forestry sector:

_ a Biodiversity Action Plan is currently being developed with funding and technical assistance from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), within the framework of the Convention on Biodiversity;

_ a Watershed Management Plan has recently been formulated, with financial assistance from the UK Department for International Development (DFID);

_ a national Environmental Action Plan was developed in 1996-1997, and adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers in April 1997. This plan was developed at the request of the World Bank. The responsibility for its implementation lies within the Ministry responsible for the Environment.

The Government of St. Lucia is also party to a number of international conventions which are of relevance to the forestry sector:

_ the International Convention on the trade of Endangered Species (CITES);

_ the Convention on Biodiversity;

_ the Convention on Desertification;

_ the World Heritage Convention;

_ the Convention on the Protection and Management of the Coastal and Marine environment of the Caribbean, (Cartagena Convention);

_ Kyoto Protocol and UNFCCC (Reynard, 1998).



St. Lucia has a unique fauna and flora, and offers all the major ecosystems of the Eastern Caribbean. To manage for the protection of indigenous species, St. Lucia is in the process of developing a National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan. This initiative is currently before cabinet for consideration. This is an expected step as St. Lucia has already ratified the Convention on Biodiversity.


Watershed management is effective only when considered as a form of quantified land management. It is addressing simply the land drainage aspect. We are seeking to plan a form of land management which will provide necessary intervention to improve the production of quantity and quality water for domestic, agricultural and industrial uses and yet protect the biomass in this area. There have been numerous programmes instituted as management strategies. The government of St. Lucia in collaboration with the British Overseas Development Administration (ODA) implemented the Watershed and Environmental management Project. Phase one comprised a priority works programme to effect repairs to rivers and drainage systems. This was costed and a loan of EC$14.3 million was agreed with the World Bank. The British O.D.A. agreed to fund the technical assistance component. Recommendations include land use limitations, stream bank planting, involvement of private forest management and community participation in local water catchment programmes. One local organization formed around the need for community involvement (The Talvern Group) has secured $44 000 (EC) from OECS/NRMU to implement management in the water catchment using bioengineering techniques.

Other watershed priorities include that forested Crown lands abutting the Forest Reserve be annexed. The need to quantify the contribution of forest conservation to water supply, as well as the impacts of deforestation on the water supply. These initiatives lack full legislative support which needs to be integrated with government policy. Amendments need to be made to the Water and Sewerage Authority Act (1984) as this primarily addresses domestic water and sewerage concerns. Currently, Government has no articulate legislation on water conservation.


The Wildlife Act of 1980 was passed, replacing the Wild Bird Ordinance. However, there exists an in-house policy concerning wildlife which also lacks clear endorsement at the cabinet level of government. Recently, the issue of hunting was brought forward for consideration. This has led to the department spearheading the development of an articulate wildlife policy. This has begun with consultations and a national survey on the issue of hunting conducted by the Statistics Department of the Ministry of Finance, Statistics and Negotiating. There was a decisive majority from this survey who stood against hunting. With a clear endorsement of ecotourism by the Government, there is a general perception that hunting will be counterproductive to encouraging this growing industry. The Forestry Department is also conducting a critical habitat assessment to clearly define protection priorities. St. Lucia is also a signatory to the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This ratification has not been followed by the institution of appropriate legislation to support the convention. There is need for a programme which includes the acquisition, assessment and evaluation of reliable data and information regarding St. Lucia's threatened and endangered faunal species and their respective habitats along with the management of exotic fauna.


The Forestry Department employed the Taungya system throughout 1980's as a strategy against squatting in the forest reserve. In this arrangement farmers were contracted for 5-year periods during which they cultivated bananas but maintained Honduras mahogany lines. The strategy proved a great success with only an approximate 250 acres being squatted upon in the Forest Reserve. Agroforestry has to serve a greater role in the future as the Department seeks to encourage tree crops already utilized in agriculture along with native forest species in demand for various indigenous purposes. Much of this will involve extension work with the private forested lands adjacent to and beyond the forest reserve. These species would serve farming, timber, and watershed protection purposes.


The traditional use of charcoal and firewood while noticeably on the decline in favour of propane gas, still exists. There is a need for a current assessment of charcoal and firewood demand and supply.


To develop and implement a network of sites and trails in certain parts of the forest reserve. These sites will allow for a greater public participation and enjoyment of forest resources and add to the nature tourism product and serve as a classroom for learning conservation practices. The Environmental Education Unit of the Department of Forestry was able to identify a track south of the original rain forest trail at Des Cartiers that could be developed into a trail. RARE provide $33 000 for Phase 1 and $53 400 for Phase 2. The government total funds towards this project was $EC106 614. The trail was completed in 1996 (James, 1997). The Forestry Department sees the need to develop new skills and attitudes which would allow its staff to work in partnership with others and to undertake the new tasks that are required for the Department to assume the growing agenda to ecotourism. The Forestry Department has supported initiatives such as the Fond Gens Libre trail, the Saltibus Group and the Forestierre group. It is recognized that Government cannot provide the manpower necessary to maintain these sites so training is being passed on to local groups in the form of guiding and enforcement skills.

The ecotourism programme is being supported by the St. Lucia Heritage Tourism Programme. This is a community-based initiative of the Ministry of Tourism. Their mission is to establish nature/heritage tourism as a viable and sustainable component of St. Lucia's tourism product. This is done through facilitating a process of education, capacity building, product development, marketing, credit access and the promotion of environmental and cultural protection. The programme is administered by an advisory committee appointed by Cabinet on which the Chief represents the Forestry Department. This is a three year initiative funded by the European Union and the Government of St. Lucia. The programme addresses the socio-economic restrictions of the tourism sector of the past. It seeks to compliment the current tourism package. It approaches product development by (a) technical assistance (b) funds (loans, grants) (c) institutional strengthening. There is also a need for proper marketing for this niche. There is low accommodation for this sector and there are plans to accommodate an additional 500 rooms. The forestry department has built lodges through grants from this programme. There is concern that the current environmental policies lack clarity and therefore need definition to truly support this fledgling industry. Various duties are leveraged against products that would assist in effective environmental management (e.g. 4% duty imposed on plastic water tanks, taxes on leaded fuel vs. unleaded fuel). There are also barriers that discourage the small entrepreneur from this type of investment; (a) expensive group liability insurance (b) expense of marketing (c) lack of incentives (e.g. Only entrepreneurs with 6 or more rooms may benefit from concessions) this prevents a smaller investor from obtaining needed benefits of the programme to stimulate growth.

There is also financial risk in the hotel industry. Very few new chains are being established on the island, with most new companies simply buying over previous establishments. The government is seeking to have a venture capital consortium consisting of various international banking and lending agencies provide support for this industry. Caribbean Development Bank is a regional institute which has agreed to endorse and support this initiative as St. Lucia seeks to diversify their tourism product.


There is an urgent need for the government to acquire private forested lands in critical watersheds. The dissemination of practices of hillside farming which are compatible with soil and water conservation requirements. There is also the challenge to ensure that private owners do manage existing resources and become involved, if feasible in plantations and timber production. Many landowners are expressing interests in managing their forests to cater for the growing ecotourism sector. This is being supported and encouraged by the Nature Heritage Program which is spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism (see Ecotourism).


More regional and inter-regional meetings to discuss issues affecting forested habitats of the Caribbean. A regional approach to research and coordination on efforts to confront common issues. Such a regional base could handle data management, publications and dissemination.


Most of the timber utilized in St. Lucia is through importation. The Forestry department has employed the selective felling approach to harvesting timber from the exotic plantations that are established. The rugged terrain has made most of the plantations established serve as a conservation strategy instead of commercial timber production. Most of the felled material occurs on private lands, most often as a by-product of land clearing for agricultural or other development objectives. The Forestry Department captures data on these activities via a timber permit removal system. This method captures approximately 75% of the actual volume due to poor enforcement. A quick assessment of the data reveals that over the last two decades a number of the local species that were readily available have gone into decline. The Forestry Departments plantation scheme only established exotic species due to their rapid growth and the immediacy of watershed conservation. There has been a reduction in the rate of deforestation; most likely due to the problems encountered in the banana markets. There is a low squatter presence in the forest reserve. These factors are leading the department to shifting its attention to private forested lands. There is an increasing emphasis on co-management with community involvement in resource utilization and protection.


There has been a growing interest in non-wood resources obtainable from the forests. The Forestry Department has levied some revenue from the extraction of liannes, used in the craft industry but several other non-wood products are utilized in an unsupervised manner to the demise of certain species. The Department expects to manage for minor forest products such as the approximately 100 native herbs of medicinal value, latanier broom production, incense harvest, mauby harvest, and bamboo which is used in construction. There is a need to determine; the scope of demand for these products, the size of the local market, determine if any exporting is occurring, the regions of extraction, the use of the extracts and what percentage of income do they provide for the harvesters. The Department is embarking on this research with questionnaires circulated island wide by forestry officers. We have established research plots with various treatments for some species. This sector is recognized as an important contributor to maintaining biodiversity and of potential value for agroforestry.


St. Lucia has achieved most of its success through an ambitious environmental education outreach programme that targeted all sectors of the public. The Forestry department maintains the view that this must remain the keystone to our future success for a national Forestry Policy. Rapid retraining of foresters is a perceived need since most have had mainly a silvicultural approach to forestry; they must now recognize the growing need for extension capabilities and the socio-economic needs of the public. The local agricultural college is working towards establishing a minor programme in Forestry as part of their agriculture diploma. There is a need for the introduction of forestry as it relates to the environment as part of the secondary school syllabus. Greater need for local seminars on environmental issues relating to forestry with special emphasis on policy makers participation. Use of local media to promote awareness. Greater support for national and regional education institutions for the promotion of forestry and related training.


The broad priorities of research are non timber products, multiple land use, silviculture and forest regeneration, experiments on erosion control, run-off, water-loss, forest communities, forest plantations, agroforestry systems. The need for a computerized data storage system which would allow for retrieval and analysis of all types of environmental information. Mechanisms need to be developed to facilitate interactions among researchers via effective research networks with more funding made available for meeting attendance and exchange visits in the region.


Current legislation has been reviewed and recommendations concerning the shortfalls have been made over recent years. These amendments need to be accepted by government to support and strengthen their environmental policy. There is a need to have legislation governing the management and conservation of rivers and riverbanks. This situation has grown in importance given the recent increase in the regional occurrence of hurricanes and tropical storm systems. The current legislation does not adequately address the issues of deforestation of riverbanks, contamination of river courses, indiscriminate use of water for irrigation etc.


The need to enforce existing legislation, need for more professional qualified personnel (botanists, forest engineering, forest pathology)



Government of Saint Lucia


Caribbean Natural Resource Institute


Caribbean Development Bank


Country Environmental Profile


European Union


Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Environment


RARE Centre for Tropical Conservation


International Protocol on Climate Control


St. Lucia Banana Growers Association


Organization of Eastern Caribbean States / Natural Resource Management Unit


Beard, J. S. 1944. Report on forestry in St. Lucia. Government Printing Office, Castries, St. Lucia.

Caribbean Conservation Association.1991. St. Lucia Environment Profile. Bridgetown, Barbados. 332 pp.

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Plitz, P. 1983. Forest Inventory report. Prepared for the St. Lucia CIDA Forest Management Assistance Project. Ottawa. Canada

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