Bonaire’s Reforestation Efforts Are Coming to Fruition
Why does Bonaire need to continue reforestation efforts?
Many terrestrial animals, introduced to the island hundreds of years ago, consume the native plants on Bonaire. When droughts occur, as Bonaire has experienced over the last two years, the munching of the plants can far outweigh the plant’s ability to grow and develop, many times causing native plants to die, and then allowing more invasive species to take over. Over time, deforestation of the island’s natural flora can cause weather changes–making the island hotter and drier, simply exacerbating the problem. To combat this, Bonaire has been involved with reforestation efforts for several years now.
Reforestation on Klein Bonaire.
Over the past several years, STINAPA has been at the forefront of reforestation efforts on Klein Bonaire. Volunteers have worked hard, carting water to Klein Bonaire in boats to water the baby plants until they become self-sufficient. The efforts have been successful, and it is hoped that the skyline of Klein Bonaire will soon start to be higher and greener.
Reforestation on Bonaire.
But what about the main island? Here, grazing goats, pigs, and donkeys consume native plant species at an alarming rate. STINAPA has held Tree-Planting Festivals in Washington Park for several years now, and this year’s event is coming up later this month. But it’s not enough and the island needs greater efforts.
Echo Foundation and the Dry Forest.
Echo Foundation is well known now for its monumental efforts to help save Bonaire’s Yellow-Shouldered Amazon parrots, more commonly known locally as loras, as the species is vulnerable to poaching and habitat destruction. To assist the parrots, and also the prikichi, the Brown-Throated Parakeet found on Bonaire, Echo is doing its best to help reforest the naturally occurring Dry Forest Ecosystem on the island.
How to reforest the Dry Forest?
With a mandate, support, and funding from Bonaire’s island government, Echo has plans to accomplish this lofty goal by reforesting 20,000 trees in ten reforestation areas, from which all exotic herbivores (goats, donkeys and pigs) are excluded.
Bonaire’s visitors can help with the reforestation efforts.
Now, with the rainy season upon us, Echo is actively planting the young trees it has been nurturing for some time. On Saturday, November 19, 2016, from 8:00 AM until 12:00 Noon, they will host a Tree Planting Day in Washington-Slagbaai National Park.
Join in Echo’s tree-planting day in Washington-Slagbaai National Park.
To join in and have some good, old-fashioned fun at the same time, meet at the entrance to Washington Park at 8:00 AM. Transportation will be provided from the entrance of the park to the work site, or just look for Echo’s vehicle. Refreshments and snacks will be provided to all planters, but those participating should wear closed-toe shoes and bring sun-screen, a water bottle, and gardening tools, if you have them.
Register your participation.
Please let Echo know you will be helping out. Simply telephone them at 785-4128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can’t plant, but want to know more?
For those who can’t join in the planting, but would like to know more about Bonaire’s reforestation efforts, everyone can join in a free, informative evening at CIEE on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 at 7:00 PM. During this presentation, Quirijn Coolen (Reforestation Warden at Echo) and Johan van Blerk (Nursery Manager at Echo) will be explaining the foundation’s part in the reforestation project and provide additional information about the planning, management, and community involvement in this important project.
(Source: Echo Foundation, CIEE Bonaire via Bonaire Insider on InfoBonaire.com)