Man arrived

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.

Sent from my Sony Xperia™ smartphone


About Olivia N Masi

From art college drop-out, to office space-planner, to back-packer, to air stewardess, to brolly babe, to model agent, to wildlife conservationist. How? I've always believed in jumping at every opportunity that comes my way. This has taken me along some bizarre career paths. None of which I regret. I have been to amazing places and met fascinating people. And having worked in the motor sport industry I've sadly experienced too many beloved friends take one adrenalin step too many. I think of them always. I've hung out with pop-stars, sports personalities, and millionaires. I reached a point when nothing but VIP would do. And then something happened. My pops passed away and I felt the need to reconnect with my Italian side. Whilst in Italy, I learnt to be resourceful, to recycle everything, to listen to the valley, to grow my own veg, to catch and tame feral cats, and to follow my heart. My heart led me to a desire to save this beautiful Earth, and all the wonderful life upon it. And so I read, and then I studied with the Open University. I suddenly found myself accepted on a BSc in Wildlife Conservation, having left school with pitiful qualifications. So here I am. A qualified Wildlife Conservationist. A scientist I suppose. I love nothing more than to listen to birdsong, and watch, learn and photograph wildlife. So here is to me getting the perfect job where I can contribute to saving one of Earth's beautiful species. Do I miss the glamour of the old life? The VIP lifestyle? The petrol-head adrenalin? The buzz of being a successful business owner? Only occasionally. Though it seems more like the distant dreams of a previous life.
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