St. Maarten Nature Foundation plants tamarind trees in Cole Bay

POSTED: 09/15/14 11:40 PM

GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Nature Foundation continued its community-wide tree planting effort on Friday when it planted two tamarind trees close to the location where last year a tamarind tree was removed to accommodate construction associated with the Simpson Bay Causeway.

There was a lot of media-attention for the controversial decision to cut the tree that had to go for traffic-safety reasons The Nature Foundation submitted a proposal to decision makers and community leaders for the establishment of a trees protection law. “We suggest that if a tree that has historical and ecological significance is removed two should be planted in its place. Although we have not heard anything concrete yet about our proposal, we are urging decision makers to do so. We still took the initiative to do exactly that: plant two trees close to the location where the tamarind tree was removed last year,” Tadzio Bervoets of the Nature Foundation stated in a press release.

Over the last few months there has been much talk in the community about the rules for cutting and pruning trees. The Nature Foundation decided in June that both a tree planting effort in the communities combined with a push for the establishment of a specific trees protection law is necessary and crucial for the sustainable management of the country’s tree population.

The tree planting effort focuses specifically on trees that provide shade, are of a national and historic importance and provide local fruit to the various districts. The first trees planted were Sandbox, Starfruit and Flamboyant trees in St. Peters, Belair, in the Emilio Wilson Park and in Simpson Bay. The Foundation is also involving youth groups in the planting effort educating them about the importance of tree protection and planting and replanting trees.

With an active tree-planting program, an education program focusing on the importance of protecting trees and recommendations for the legal protection of trees, the Nature Foundation hopes to create a balanced and sustainable management and development system. The approach focuses in particular on indigenous fruit trees, trees that provide shade and trees that are of a historical, national and cultural importance. “It is essential that we make up for all the trees we lose or use,” Bervoets states. “Our island, our planet and our people benefit from trees. They function as oxygen filters, provide shelter and food for people and animals and they influence the climate. Coupled with national legislation that protects existing trees this is essential in encouraging a sustainable management for our trees.”

The Nature Foundation expressed gratitude to the Speetjens family for donating many trees that form part of the planting project.

 

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