KRALENDIJK – The United Nations has declared March 21 as International Day of Forests. This year’s theme is ‘Forests and Health’. Forests contribute greatly to our health. They purify water, clean the air, capture carbon to combat climate change, and improve our well-being. Additionally, trees provide shade and have a positive impact on the local climate. It is up to us to protect these valuable natural resources.
The slogans “It’s in our nature” (TCB) and “Nos ta biba di naturalesa” (OLB + partners) say a lot about the identity of our island. Forests are an important part of this.
Bonaire has dry tropical forests and mangrove forests. Scientists assess the future of our island’s dry tropical forests as very unfavorable. This is caused by increasing urbanization due to population growth and tourism. Grazing by goats, donkeys, and pigs also plays an important role.
Fortunately, measures are being taken to counter the decline. Reforestation projects have been carried out in recent years, and new projects are planned. A local tree nursery, Tera Barra, therefore grows thousands of indigenous trees that will be planted on the island in the future. In the Washington-Slagbaai National Park, STINAPA is carrying out a program to remove grazers.
Mangrove forests are important in the fight against climate change because they remove relatively large amounts of CO2 from the air and protect the land during tropical storms. But our mangrove forests are also under pressure from increasing construction, pollution, and erosion due to goat grazing.
STINAPA and the Mangrove Maniacs are trying to prevent erosion through reforestation. They are also improving water circulation in the mangrove forests by hacking and digging channels. New mangrove trees are planted along the coast for coastal defense.
The projects for the preservation of our forests are developed and implemented by the local government together with local organizations.