THE Ministry of Planning and Development is hoping the results of a recent socio-economic survey will be used to develop cost-effective tools and support systems for the conservation of six protected areas in Trinidad and Tobago (TT).
These are: Caroni Swamp, Nariva Swamp, Matura Forest, Trinity Hills Game Sanctuary, the Main Ridge Forest Reserve and North-East Tobago Marine Area.
The Ministry in a release stated, “An estimated $18.8M TT in revenue was generated from the sale of fruits and vegetables across six protected areas in Trinidad and Tobago in one year, from October 2018 to September 2019, according to a socio-economic survey, which formed part of the Improving Forest and Protected Area Management in Trinidad and Tobago (IFPAMTT) initiative.”
The IFPAMTT project is Government’s direct response to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO/UN) to help in the prevention of biodiversity loss in TT and improving the governance of environmentally sensitive and protected areas.
The ministry stated this was the first survey of its kind in TT and illustrates the interaction between communities and the ecosystems on which they depend, as well as their current use of nature and its products, otherwise known as provisioning ecosystem services.
“The aim of the survey was to provide an overview of the multiple roles of forests on the welfare and livelihood of households living in or around each of six designated Pilot Protected Areas (PPAs) in TT”, it added.
The ministry stated “The promotion of local and international nature-based tourism, alongside the involvement of local communities as tour operators and managers of biological assets is central to the conservation of ecosystems as well as the development of the country’s economy.”
It stated, “This study reiterated that as a renewable resource, protected areas must be comprehensively understood in order to identify the vast social and economic benefits that stand to be derived from their sustainable management.”
According to the ministry, the report also revealed that over $115,000 in revenue was generated from the legal sale of game meats from the surveyed areas.
It said, “Information like this is crucial to assist the Government in achieving the goals set out in Theme V of Vision 2030, which places the environment at the centre of social and economic development, and in particular, in improving natural resource management.”
Under the National Protected Areas Policy (2011), the designation and management of protected areas allows for multiple channels of national growth and development, including the conservation of natural heritage, and ecosystem diversity; conservation of the country’s cultural, spiritual/religious and historical heritage; and provisions towards sustainable livelihoods and human well-being, including opportunities for resource mobilisation, education and recreation.
The project validates that protected areas represent a significant renewable resource in TT which provides social and economic benefits in addition to environmental benefits.
The biological resources of Trinidad and Tobago play a key role in providing support to agriculture, fishing, hunting, timber extraction, recreation, tourism and culture, inviting a sustained focus on industries within the primary sector as a necessary economic driver.
Persons can access the Socio-Economic Study Related to Protected Areas in Trinidad and Tobago Report at: