Heads of the Department of Sustainable Development planted ten pine cedars at the World Heritage Site Monument as part of national efforts to restore the critically endangered species. Once common in Saint Lucia, intensive deforestation of lowland areas decimated this conifer (Juniperus barbadensis var. barbadensis) to fewer than 100 individuals.
The remaining trees grow on the inaccessible cliffs of Petit Piton. Restoration activities by authorities and conservationists have been challenged by larcenists who uproot the young plants at the strategic locations.
Permanent Secretary in the Department of Sustainable Development appeals to the public to support the pine cedar restoration drive “Forestry officials informed us today that our planting exercise was to replace pencil cedars that were initially planted and later stolen from this site. The economic value of the pine cedar is undeniable including its potential for a sustainable Christmas tree market in Saint Lucia. However, population
To meet the demand for Christmas trees every December, Forestry officials resort to supplying alien species that are vulnerable to fungal infections. The fast-growing, more resilient pencil cedar has strong potential to be grown for this commercial purpose and eventually replace the weaker species.
The planting exercise was hosted by the PMA Office on Friday 12th November 2021 as part of a tour of the Piton Management Area (PMA) to give heads of the Department of Sustainable Development a greater understanding of PMA operations on the ground. The Department is one of the bodies responsible for overseeing the sustainable management of the PMA.