Description of plantation resources
The largest plantation area is situated in Joes River Forest. A recent proposal aims at including this area in an ecotourism project. So far, the main purpose of forest plantation establishement has been to control soil erosion (Lucas, 2000).
Development of forest plantations
After its introduction in 1870, Casuarina equisetifolia became one of the most important species. Its drought tolerance made it suitable for reforestation in winward areas (Ramnarine, 1991).
The Cultivation of Tree Act enacted in 1951, provided tax incentives for the establishment of approved species plantations. Besides, the Soil Conservation Act enacted in 1958, included measures for the protection and rehabilitation of degraded lands in the Scotland District, situated in the northeastern part of the island.
In 1961, about 40 ha of the Joes River Forest was donated to the government for reforestation, soil conservation and timber production purposes.
Since 1963, a number of hardwood species have been planted, including Swietenia mahogani, Cordia alliodora, Eucalyptus spp. and Tectona grandis, the latter was introduced in 1963. Plantations are both, pure and mixed-species and have been established both in blocks and lines (Lucas, 2000).
The main species are Swietenia mahagoni, Casuarina equisetifolia, Tabebuia spp., Cedrela spp., Eucalyptus spp., and Tectona grandis (Lucas, 2000).
Tectona grandis performance was not good and its use was not recommended to establish additional plantations. Casuarina equisetifolia instead, produces fuelwood, poles and contributes to the protection of the environment. Eucalyptus grandis and E. torelliana have performed well (Ramnarines, 1991).
The importance of reforestation on steep lands has been recently recognised. It is therefore projected to reforest areas with this purpose (Lucas, 2000).
IITF. 2000. The 2000 FAO Forest Resource Assessment for the Caribbean, Barbados. Washington. International Institute of Tropical Forestry, Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture.
Lucas, C.H. 2000. Country report. En EC-FAO workshop on data collection and outlook effort for forestry in the Caribbean. Port of Spain, Trinidad, 21-25 de febrero de 2000. Bridgetown. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.
Ramnarine, S. 1991. Tropical Forestry Action Plan, Report on Silviculture. Bridgetown. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.