Green Hill. The conservation exercise begins
In early April Environment Tobago began preparations for its Green Hill Conservation project. The concept is based on a 36,425 sq. meters (9 acres) leased plot located above the water treatment plant (potable) in lower Mt St. George. Presently ET volunteers are carrying out a cursory survey; which involves identifying tree and shrub species, birds, bees.... about the bees.
For those who aren't aware, bees are one of the easiest ways to provide that critical balance function ecosystem conservation. They allow for genetic variation in the plant community, enhance floral diversity, specialization and evolution.
Bees also play an important though not often recognized role in terrestrial ecosystems where there is green vegetation cover for at least 3 to 4 months each year. In tropical forests, savannah woodlands, mangrove, and in temperate deciduous forests, many species of plants and animals would not survive if bees disappeared. This is because the production of seeds, nuts, berries and fruits are highly dependent on insect pollination, and among the pollinating insects, bees rank pretty high.
Green Hill probably is not an ideal site for apiculture since bats and birds will act as competitive pollinators (the famous Main Ridge Reserve is just a few kilometers north and connected by an unbroken tract of secondary forest growth. The Green Hill project hopes though to have its own bee population to effect a stronger brush cover for this hillside, more diverse biodiversity, and if possible also derive funds however small, from the sale of honey.
There could be other positives. Nearby farmed areas, such as Lower Mt.St.George, Easterfield and Moriah will benefit from the ET Green Hill pollinators (tee shirt brainwave). Other wild animal species may also be impacted indirectly over time since the Green Hill apiaries will not be limited to any single variety of bee - In his appraisal Mr. Solomon confirmed the plot will sustain European stingless as Tobago's indigenous bees.
**Further Note: The Green Hill Project seeks (a) complete restoration of the hillside flora to pre-hurricane Flora times, (b) the creation of a habitat and study site for Tobago hillside lifeforms and (c) ensure the preservation of the Green Hill watershed.
Interested parties may contact us here.