A four-day training workshop in Nursery Management and Forest Ecology was successfully completed in Dominica on August 10th, 2019. A total of ten people were trained including seven men and three women from the local communities.
The training workshop was geared to support the reforestation of the Soufriere Scotts Head Watershed. The goal was to improve the general ecological health and services of the watershed to maintain productive ecosystems in the adjoining Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve (SSMR). The training was supported by the Forestry Division and created opportunities for hands on experience for the participants. An active reforestation programme will soon be implemented by the Forest Division to reintroduce endemic and commercially viable species in the watershed, which was heavily impacted by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. The reforestation programme will increase the potential in the medium to long term to support tourism and increase the supply of non-forest timber products for local entrepreneurs who subsist on the forest. It will also speed up the recovery of highly valuable coral reef systems in the near-shore coastal waters by reducing surficial soil loss and surface run-offs. The training provided information on nursery management and general forest ecology as well as hands-on experience to frontline workers who will be involved in the national reforestation efforts within this specific watershed of the SSMR.
Overall, the training achieved three major objectives namely:
- the provision of technical knowledge and hands-on training on seedling nursery operations and management,
- the production of a practical guide outlining instructions on proper seedling care post-purchase/germination, including handling and transplanting techniques to be used by people involved in reforestation programs,
- knowledge on general forest ecological principles relevant to reforestation programmes.
Participants were exposed to a wide range of information to sharpen their management, scientific and practical skills. Some of the major topics covered in this training included:
- General nursery management principles
- Factors affecting nursery site selection
- Plant nutrition and pest control under nursery conditions
- Irrigation & soil water management in the nursery
- Growing media for nursery plants
- Modifying plant growth to suit market needs and reforestation efforts
- Introduction to general forest ecology
- Plant propagation techniques
A similar training is expected to be undertaken for frontline forestry workers within the Cabrits National Park Marine Managed Area (CAPMA) watershed soon.