The northern half of Bonaire is forested. The southern half is salt pans.
The forested landscape is not what it should be though. Once upon a time, it was lush and green and tropical. Like nearby Venezuela. Today the landscape is arid and dusty, except for during the rainy season. Plants that dominate are cacti and mesquite (a thorny unfriendly tiny leaved shrub). Nothing else can survive.
So what happened to all those lush green tropical trees, buzzing with biodiversity?
Man arrived. Man chopped down all the trees, unsustainably. Man brought goats to the island. Man let the goats run free unchecked, eating everything they wished. Man destroyed the island ecosystem.
This all happened rather a long time ago. So folk that live on the island today have no knowledge of that lost lush paradise. Of how their island could be. Should be.
Reforestation projects exist. This involves creating exclusion zones. Goat, donkey and pig exclusion zones. All of which are now running round wild and free on Bonaire. That’s a lot of fencing.
Reforestation is one of Echo’s priorities. Putting back parrot habitat. Here at Echo’s Dos Pos Conservation area, an exclusion zone has already been created and trees are busy growing in Echo’s nursery, ready to be planted soon. Tree planting will start in the rainy season. I’m hoping I can plant a few before I leave.
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