On the International Day of Forests, 21st March 2022, we reflect on the crucial role that forests play in our lives, the importance of protecting them and developing them sustainably.  Despite all their priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate.

IWEco’s Trinidad and Tobago National Project focuses on the reduction and reversal of land degradation associated with quarry operations at selected quarry sites in the north-east of Trinidad. The project aims to restore natural vegetation, reduce sedimentation and flood risk and reinstate ecological function to selected exhausted or abandoned quarry pits at select project demonstration sites.

On-site land and forest interventions have so far seen the rehabilitation of 11 hectares of former quarry lands, with work on additional plots of land by both public and private sector entities due to begin shortly. While the last two years have seen many setbacks resulting from measures to control COVID 19 nationwide, there has been significant progress. 

Quarry Rehabilitation Champs planting on Taungya site, February 2021

The Taungya demonstration site, a pilot agro-forestry initiative on site, is yielding harvests of vegetables and fruit, including hot peppers, sorrel, portugals, parsley, chives and shadow beni, which have generated some income for the community group which previously received training in land rehabilitation and worked to restore the pilot plots (the Quarry Rehabilitation Champions).   A training programme, by the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), for the Champions on nature-based livelihoods opportunities and the development of small-scale community projects is also ongoing.

Listen to our 30-minute podcast, the second episode of ‘Caring for the Caribbean future’ recorded in November 2021, which highlights the mobilization of the Quarry Rehabilitation Champions and teaching them key skills to support their communities afterward, the collaboration between the executing agency, the Environmental Management Authority, UNDP Small Grants Programme, the partner NGOs (the Trust for Sustainable Livelihoods and IAMovement) and private sector partnerships on the national project. 

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Caring for the Caribbean Future: A UNEP IWEco Podcast- Episode 2