Commentary: Climate change: Developing strategies for mitigation and adaptation

By D. Markie Spring

Climate change presents a new set of significant challenges to landowners and managers, and decision makers in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), the region and the rest of the world.

Despite the size of SVG, the role that we play in connection in climate change compliance leadership at the national level are as important as those executed at the international level. According to the Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW), like the international players, our focus should be directed toward evaluating ecosystem reactions, analyzing climates, promoting approaches to sequester carbon and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions; hitherto, developing strategies to manage and control natural resources relative to changing climates.

The author of a number of published works, D. Markie Spring was born in St Vincent and the Grenadines and now resides in Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He has an MBA from the University of Leicester, England, and a BA from Saint Mary’s University, Canada

More so, assessing climate variability and change is one of the research interest areas of the PSW!

PWS scientists have taken the initiative to study climate variability and change, with the main focus on understanding historic and proceeding climates and climate mechanisms amongst proxies: pollen in lake sediments, tree rings, the structural analysis of forests and determining provisional climate change and weather in relation to wild fires and, in some situations, forests that are deliberately set on fire for the purpose of clearing lands.

Interestingly, what PSW scientists have found so far during their ongoing research is climate and landscape change relative to these variables, which have profound influence shaping natural resources, the economy, environment and other facets of activities around the globe.

Identically, the information developed is broadly relevant to landowners and managers, policymakers and activists; hence, their research and lead in forest management service in tropical ecosystem!

Similarly, and in reference to what the PSW scientists have recommended for the inhabitants of the Pacific islands, there is an urgent need for SVG and the wider Caribbean to manage their forests in a sustainable fashion consistent with the local cultural, social, environmental and economic values.

Coupled with this, restoration of forested ecosystems is normally accomplished at any rational scale solely with wide community involvement and participation.

Henceforth, economic diversification and development is key to sustainability. The PSW indicates economic opportunity grants have diminished greatly in the Pacific islands; hence, the Forest Management Service (FMS) team is working tirelessly on number of major projects, including the economic utilization of invasive tree albizia and opportunities to introduce a modern mill in Hawaii to make use of the locally cultivated eucalyptus and other archaic hardwood.

Meanwhile, other Pacific islands are working with their forestry departments, embarking on eco-tourism operation.

Likewise, the FMS team is collaborating with the Forest Legacy Program to protect high value forests in other parts of the Pacific. Ideally, thousands of acres of forests are being proposed for protection; forests that are at risk, usually by purchasing easements or development rights.

Intuitively, the Richmond Vale Academy (RVA) in St Vincent and the Grenadines has embarked on various similar programs relative to climate change and well designed global warming projects to make SVG the cleanest country. They have food security programs through the planting of crops and rearing of animals, along with ‘green campaigns’ by planting trees lost from deforestation, eco-tourism and now they are experimenting in bio-fuels. What is most fascinating about this non-profit organization is that they have led the way in the economic utilization of manufacturing juices. All this is carried out with the involvement of the surrounding communities.

Similar to the Pacific islands, the RVA is initiating inventory, planning and monitoring with a goal to support natural resource planning; conduct numerous workshops across St Vincent and the Grenadines and the region, along with other climate change related programs.

Rapidly, the earth’s atmosphere is deteriorating, leaving the earth and its inhabitants vulnerable. Deforestation and burning of trees could result in landslides and erosions from heavy rain falls; coupled with this, factory farming intensifies climate change, unleashing an astronomical volume of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere; making it harmful for food production and animal rearing through higher temperatures and making water a scarce resource.

It is time that world over create a consortium on climate risk in their respective communities, countries and regions. We need nature to thrive and it is urgent that stricter national policy through monitoring are established to guide inhabitants about the environment they live in.

You lose it; we felt it, let’s save an acre today!