ST JOHN’S, Antigua – A recent fire at the Body Pond water shed area has cleared the way for 10,000 new trees to be planted in the area.
The Fire Department on June 16 responded to the blaze that destroyed trees and resulted in the 10-acre demo site, part of the Sustainable Island Resource Management Mechanism (SIRMM), looking like a burnt wasteland.
Forestry Division Senior Officer Adriel Thibou said replanting efforts have already begun and the goal is to have all the trees planted by September.
“Some see the cup as half empty, but I see it as half full and we will use this opportunity to take advantage of the area being cleared; turn the bad into a good and we actually went in and planted 1,000 trees. We anticipate that by the end of the summer vacation we would have planted 10,000 trees in total,” Thibou said yesterday.
According to him, the initial target date for all the trees was year-end, but with the vegetation being out of the way, leaving the area susceptible to flooding, the deadline was moved forward.
“With the fire clearing the vegetation we have an easier way of getting to the very top of the water shed so we are going to try and capitalise on it and start from the top come down. We are going to plant as many trees as possible because it is a little more pressure since we have to find the trees. The initial schedule that we had would have given us enough trees,” he added.
The Gilbert Agricultural Rural Development (GARD) Centre has been providing the seedlings towards the project with the financial assistance of SIRMM and the Forestry Unit.
Environment Officer within the Ministry of Agriculture Ruleta Camacho added while there has been no clear indication of what started the blaze, the fire was man-made.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)