YES, PLANTING TREES CAN HELP. BUT PROTECTING TREES IS MUCH BETTER!
At the end of the seventies of the last century, Bonaire created the underwater park. A step that testified to vision and daring and that put Bonaire on the map as a conservationist and diving destination.
On September 15, 2010, in Makubekèn, No sta biba di Naturalesa, was proudly announced that another important step has been taken to place Bonaire at the forefront of nature conservation. Namely, the Executive Council has adopted 2 decrees with which we can protect our animal and plant species and nature reserves on land and in the sea. The Island Nature Management Decree and the Underwater Park Island Decree.
Is protection needed? If we look at our history and the islands in the region, the answer to that question is already known. We need our nature for our prosperity and well-being. Nos ta biba di naturalesa. And it’s not a day late. Our nature is coming under increasing pressure. Project developers eagerly look at the most beautiful pieces of nature. The laws are there. Now it is up to the government, conservationists, entrepreneurs, social organizations and all residents of Bonaire to put them to good use!
From 1 January 2011, trees and cacti with a trunk circumference of more than 65 cm at a height of 1.30 meters may not be felled without a permit. For a felling permit, a financial contribution to the tree fund must be paid per tree and/or cactus ($85 per tree with a girth of 65 to 79cm, $140 for a girth of 80 to 94cm and $195 for a girth of 95cm or more) This money goes into a tree fund managed by STINAPA and from this fund the planting of new trees (seedlings/saplings) is paid for by STINAPA.
WHERE ARE WE NOW, MORE THAN TEN YEARS LATER
The tree fund still exists, the contributions are the same. The amounts paid into the tree fund in recent years are not impressive:
- 2019 $0,
- 2020 $390,
- 2021 $3,360 (until May 20)
Does this mean that we value our trees and cacti and leave them in peace? Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth, trees and cacti are cut down in large quantities without any permit. Supervision and enforcement of the rules is totally lacking.
- 5 hectares clear-cut by STINAPA, without permit, due to (placement/control) fence (The Bonaire Reporter Oct 28-Nov 11 2019);
- Three, more than 100 years old, Wayaka’s were cut down opposite of Surveillance & Enforcement (T&H) at the Kaya Korona, no permit no enforcement (T&H complaint 29/11/2019, K34)
Tree fund proceeds $0
2020: 2 permits issued; Tree fund proceeds $390
2021: 1 permit issued to STINAPA concerns 289 trees due to (placement/control) fence, Tree fund proceeds $3,360 (until the end of May)
SAVING TREES IS BETTER THAN PLANTING TREES!
In 2017-2019 in a fenced area of 1.15 hectares, 1.500 trees were planted (Source: Reforestation Project, Final report Echo, 2019) Kach’i Baka June 2021 less than 1% survived, take a look your for yourself, it is next to the road to Ricon close to Fontein. I hope you find more saplings/trees a live than I did.
Trees need decades, sometimes even centuries, before they reach maturity. Which means that it’s even more important to protect what we have. As they say, prevention is better than the cure.
Don’t take our word for it. Here’s William Moomaw, lead author for five reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): ”Tree planting is a great thing to do, but [it] will not make much of a difference in the next two or three decades because little trees just don’t store much carbon. Letting existing natural forests grow is essential to any climate goal we have”. According to one study, preventing the loss of one hectare of mature, carbon, and biodiversity-rich forests will typically avoid emissions of about 100 tons of carbon, while tropical reforestation typically sequesters about 3% of that, or 3 metric tons of carbon, per hectare each year. This means that, in a given year, as much as 30 times more land is needed for reforestation to generate the same climate mitigation outcome as avoided deforestation in the first place (Griscom et al., 2017)
SAVING NATURE/FORESTS IS BETTER THAN PLANTING TREES!
We’re not trying to say that tree planting isn’t important. It is. It’s the best option for degraded lands, and especially for restoring some natural ecosystems. While the role of forest restoration in supporting climate, biodiversity, and community goals is extremely critical, and increased interest is encouraging, it’s important to remember that protecting existing nature/forests can often achieve much more in terms of delivering these outcomes.
We’re trying to fight climate change and destruction of biodiversity, ecosystems today. To protect and preserve Nature for future generations. Planting trees just doesn’t cut it for any of those.
We must put all our efforts into saving existing, natural tropical dry forests, like Plantation Bolivia. Forests that safely store away huge amounts of carbon. Forests that protect animals, birds, biodiversity, and ecosystems. Forests that support people, livelihoods, and cultures. Forests that are never coming back if they get cut down.
Unfortunately, the step taken in 2010, drawn up regulations, to place Bonaire at the forefront of nature conservation failed. Just blah blah blah, only words. Without action, words are just words (without enforcement these ambitions will never come true)
It is up to us, you and me, that’s why we do what we do:
HELP US TO SAVE PLANTATION BOLIVIA FROM DESTRUCTION!