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Persons urged to explore the economic benefits from the forest


Over 20 persons representing a number of community groups and organisations took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about forests and livelihoods last week.{{more}}

They were part of a three-day regional workshop on Forests and conducted in eight other Caribbean countries through the Caribbean National Resources Institute (CANARI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.

Over the three days and through a number of indoor and outdoor sessions, the participants sharpened their skills in identifying and analyzing situations that can present opportunities for the development of projects specific to the use of the forest and its preservation.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Forestry Director Brian Johnson welcomed the workshop, noting that persons need to explore all opportunities for economic benefit particularly from the forest, especially in the context of a global economic downturn where economic opportunities are limited.

The Forestry Director, however, cautioned that while persons seek livelihoods from the forest, it must be done with low impact, and must not destroy but rather maintain the forest allowing the natural regeneration processes to take place.

Meanwhile, CANARI’s Forest and Livelihoods Programme Manager and main Facilitator of the Workshop Neila Bobb-Prescott said her Organisation brings the region’s “big people in Forestry and the Environment to an Island, take them to a site and analyse what is going on then make recommendations.” These people have all the expertise in Biology, Environmental Management she said. CANARI also runs a Forest and Livelihoods Small Grants Programme of which two small groups from St. Vincent and the Grenadines have benefited.

On October 29, the team journied to the upper basin of the Colonarie Watershed area to analyze and discuss an on-going project of one of the major forest user groups, the Keepers of the environment.