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Eradication of Invasive Alien Plant Species

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Pitons

The Pitons Management Area (PMA) Office was established in 2006 and functions as a project within the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology of the Government of Saint Lucia. It was a response to requirements of the PMA Management Plan of 2003 and has primary responsibility for matters pertaining to PMA management and conservation. Since March 2015, the PMA Office has benefited from a programme of support funded by the (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit)Giz through its Caribbean Aqua Terrestrial Solutions (CATS) Programme. This support has ensured that the PMA achieve its sustainable management, conservation and public education and awareness mandate through implementation of the following initiatives:

  1. Eradication of Invasive Alien Plant Species from the Gros Piton Nature Trail
  2. Increased Public Education and Awareness of the PMA
  3. Community mobilisation and Empowerment for improved Conservation of the Resources within the PM

While the programme of cooperation was initiated primarily to support efforts at removing IAS plants Callisia fragrans and Tradescantia zebrine, members of the Commelinaceae family from the Gros Piton Nature Trail (GPNT), it has also resulted in increased collaboration between the PMA Office and key stakeholders namely; Department of Forestry, Soufriere Regional Development Foundation (SRDF), the Soufriere Marine Management Authority (SMMA) and members of the Fond Gens Libres Community.

Group students

Actual CATS-Giz input commenced with the financing of the publication of two sets of 1000 brochures each addressing basic facts about the PMA; and the unique species of flora within the PMA to be promoted after removal of IAS plants. CATS-Giz also provided support for the conduct of a series of presentations to 10 primary schools in the Soufriere and Choiseul region during the period June 18-25, 2015. These presentations formed part of celebrations for the eleventh anniversary of Inscription of the PMA to the UNESCO World Heritage List and took the form of interactive session where students viewed and discussed educational videos and presentations described below:

  1. Invasive Alien Species; a video on the National Invasive Species Project produced by the Department of Forestry, Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science & Technology;
  2. Protecting the Environment from the Ridge to Reef, a CATS programme video presentingthe strategy for conserving the environment in small islands;
  3. One of the episodes from the Captain Planet Series on Pollution sponsored by the Barbara Pyle Foundation; and
  4. An informational slide presentation on the PMA.
Brochures

Presentations were lauded by staff and students and the PMA Office will be rewarding this enthusiasm at the beginning of the new academic year with a donation of exercise books for participating students from each of the 10 schools. These exercise books currently in print are sponsored by CATS-Giz and will serve the purpose of providing information about the PMA to students while providing a medium for completion of their written and research exercises.

Through the support of the CATS programme and other partners like the Kirk Elliott of Saint Lucia by Kirk, the PMA Office has been able to facilitate dialogue between the Fond Gens Libres Community, the management of the Gros Pitons Nature Trail the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation (SRDF) and other stakeholders. This dialogue has resulted in the commencement of a process whereby the community has decided to organize itself to be able to provide better stewardship to the resource which provides a livelihood for the majority of its members while working towards increased benefits for the community.

Finally, in support of continued efforts at conserving and protecting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the PMA, the office is collaborating with the CATS-Giz to air a 90-second video documentary of 20 Outstanding Views of the PMA which have been identified by the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) Study for the PMA (2013)[1]. They represent views of the PMA landscape which must not be significantly altered by any of development or other activity. In essence this development should not result in a negative visual impact on the landscape.

 
[1] Study commissioned by the Government of Saint Lucia that presents a definitive framework for maintainingthe integrity and Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Saint Lucia’s Pitons Management Area.
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