A national website for forests and protected areas was launched at the Environmental Management Authority’s (EMA) Head Office in St. Clair earlier today.
According to a media release, the website, www.protectedareastt.org.tt, is intended to be “the main repository of information on forests and protected areas.” Initial information will be provided on six pilot sites, which are the Caroni Swamp, the Nariva Swamp, the Matura Forest and coastal zones, the Trinity Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, the Main Ridge Forest Reserve in Tobago and the North East Tobago Marine pilot protected area.
The website is a component under the Improving Forest and Protected Area Management in Trinidad and Tobago (IFPAMTT), which is a project being administered by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United States, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The information provided will reportedly include notes on the location, boundaries, legal destination, socio-economic description, wildlife assets and management of the six sites. It is expected that the website will “increase visibility” and “provide access to current and regularly updated information on species diversity in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Speaking at the launch today, Senior Policy Officer at FAO Caribbean, Dr Terri Raney said, the launch of the website is a “local milestone in the development of an online platform to serve as a repository of information about our natural spaces.” She added that the IFPAMTT project has highlighted important information, through surveys undertaken with people who live near the six pilot sites and “it is the hope that the website will share the information that was accessed and contribute updates” on the country’s protected areas. “The launch of the website will enable sharing of information databases with an even wider audience than the stakeholders who are currently engaged,” she said.
In his brief address today, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, expressed his happiness over the news of the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) winning the injunction filed against them. Rambharat stated that even though the matter did not concern his ministry, he has pledged to “channel legal and other resources” to aid in CDA blocking particular operations from accessing Alcan Bay.
On the topic of hunting, Rambharat said he has written about the lack of data on hunting and its socio-economic impact indicators. He also said it is essential to “represent the views of people” in urban and rural communities. “We must strike a balance between people earning a livelihood and sustainability in these communities,” he said.
He expressed that the technology will “make it easier” to do the protective work that needs to be done. “What really matters is our appetite for implementing and monitoring,” he said. He added that the IFPAMTT project deals with “the generation of data” and “interaction with people who it is intended to support.”
Technical Officer of the Project Coordination Unit, Celeste Chariandy, said plans are in the works to develop a “small team to learn to manage the site.”