Description of plantation resources
Forest plantations have been established to protect soil and water resources and meet the domestic demand for forest products. However, the production of forest products has lower priority compared to protection and conservation. Forest plantations established in critical watersheds and steep lands will not be harvested. (FAO and FD, 1993 and FD, 1994).
Development of forest plantations
Significant forest plantation activity started, in the 1960s. Between 1980 and 1981, the USAID Basic Human Needs Project established 56 ha of forest plantations with Hibiscus elatus, Pinus caribaea and other species. Between 1987 and 1989, many of the forest plantations were inventoried and some of them were thinned.
Before 1989, forest plantations were usually established on abandoned agricultural lands to conserve soil and water and to produce poles, posts and timber. Thus, plantations were mainly established in the upper or middle of watershed basins (Anon., 2000 and FD, 1994).
The National Forestry Action Plan was published in 1993. It contains a plan to establish plantations both, for industrial and non-industrial purposes (FAO and FD, 1993).
Other broadleaved species account for about 75 percent of the plantation area. Hibiscus elatus is the predominant species. In addition, Cedrela odorata, Calophyllum antillanum, Eucalyptus spp., Leucaena leucocephala and other species are planted. Swietenia macrophylla and S. mahagoni follow with 15 percent, and Pinus caribaea with 10 percent.
Until 1989, the predominant species were Hibiscus elatus, called blue mahoe, Swietenia macrophylla, S. mahagoni and Pinus caribaea. These species accounted for about 90 percent of the plantations.
During 1989-1993, the predominant species were mahoganies, Swietenia macrophylla and S. mahagoni accounted for 36 percent of plantations, while Hibiscus elatus covered 30 percent of them (FD, 1994).
It is planned to reforest 24 ha per year during 1994-2002 (FD, 1994).
The National Forestry Action Plan for 1994-2013 includes plans to establish and manage commercial forest plantations to meet domestic demands. The establishment of forest plantations is expected to contribute to increase local employment and conserve soil and water (FAO and FD, 1993).
Silvicultural treatment, such as maintenance and reforestation, has been constrained due to the lack of staff and budget, absence of plans and outdated legislation (FAO and FD, 1993).
Anon. 2000. Country report for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In EC-FAO Workshop "Data collection and outlook effort for forestry in the Caribbean". Trinidad and Tobago, 21-25 February, 2000.
FAO & FD. 1993. National Forestry Action Plan 1994 to 2013, St Vincent and the Grenadines, 1, Main report. FAO Forestry Department. Rome.
FD. 1994. National Forest Inventory Report, Annex 1 of the National Forest Resource Conservation Plan. Forestry Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Industry and Labour. Kingstown.