|Government better prepared to manage pine forests|
|Written by R Green|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 17:15|
The Turks and Caicos Islands are now better prepared to handle wild fires and manage pine forest reserves after government officers received hands on training in controlled-burning techniques at a recent workshop.
Bryan Naqqi Manco, manager of the Caicos Pine Recovery; Dr. Eric F. Salamanca, scientific officer at the Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs (DEMA); and Nicholas Turner, director of the Department of Agriculture (DOA) attended a two-day conference hosted by the Miami-Dade County Parks, the Nature Conservancy and the Everglades National Park, which was held at the University of Florida.
The Caicos Pine Recovery Project’s first controlled burning exercise took place in May and was part of new management strategy aimed at controlling the scale insect that have been devastating the pine trees in the TCI since 2005.
The project also includes replanting in an effort to replace the plants which have been destroyed. To date 75 Caicos pine seedlings were planted on Pine Cay, with plans to established pine restoration plots on Middle and North Caicos in the near future.
At the conference, Manco presented an update of the Caicos Pine Recovery Project’s challenges and accomplishments, and Salamanca presented a poster on TCI’s first controlled burn and subsequent monitoring. Both presentations received accolades from the 200 participants, with a few expressing interest in collaborating with TCI to address the Caicos pine ecosystem.
Turner also established a network of contacts to obtain vital information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help develop TCI’s agriculture. DEMA and DOA staff also visited newly restored wetlands habitats, which presented an opportunity for environmental mitigation in TCI.
“The conference allowed us to network with a wide variety of intrepid and undauntedly enthusiastic researchers, conservationists, and stewards of pine rocklands,” Manco said. “We have gained valuable management capacity experience from this network, and will continue to use these contacts in the development of our pineyard management in the long term.”
The Caicos Pine Recovery Project is financially supported by U.K.’s Overseas Territories Environment Program (OTEP). For more information on the Caicos Pine Recovery Project, contact DEMA or visit the website at www.environment.tc or find it on Facebook.
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