Friday, November 24, 2017

Biodiversity News

25

Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry and Fisheries

Forestry Department

Millet Range

Status report on Wildfire Impact in the Millet in 2010

 

burntlands

Date June 7 2010

By Aloysius Charles: Forest officer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background

 

Isaac (2004) documented the irregular patterns in the occurrence of wildfires in St. Lucia.  There was an initial increase in the number of wildfires from 2000 to 2003 with 262, 427, 444, 595.  In 2004 there were only 84 wildfires.

 

The year 2010 registered an unprecedented drought period and an increased number of wildfires

island-wide.  A report from the Corporate Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry and Fisheries detailed the downward trend in the average monthly rainfall from July 2009 to February 2010.  There was a percentage reduction of 6, 33, 61, 67, 48, 53, 78 and 96 from July 09 to February 2010.  

 

This document serves to provide baseline data on the number of wildfires, the acreage of area burnt and the wildlife present- including fauna and flora.  

 

 

 

 

Objectives

 

1.      To assess areas affected by wildfires in the Millet Range in terms of their location,  the acreage burnt and the relative presence and absence of fauna.

 

2.      To develop recommendations to rehabilitate sites affected and or to reduce the risks of wildfires in the future.

 

Methodology

 

1.      Wildfire affected areas were geo referenced using a GPS in Anse La Raye, Venus, and Canaries.  In areas where access was a constraint, a GPS position, a bearing and an estimated distance to the site was recorded.  The size of the area burnt was estimated. Inventories of plant and wild life populations were also done. 

 

2.      The data on the species richness was then analyzed for locations in two (2) tables of absence and presence for plants and other wildlife, and analyses were done of the relative abundance of species per location.

 

3.      The data on acreage was then sorted from largest to smallest according to location and analyses were done the total acreage burnt and the relative number of burns per location.

 

 

 

 

Figure 1 Map Showing Affected Areas

Results

Table 1 details the extent of and the total area that was burnt in the Millet range.  There was a total of 10.9 hectares (25.9 acres).Canaries was most affected with a total area of 5 hectares (12.4 acres).  In general the other areas affected were smaller patches of land between 0.5 and 2.5 hectares. 

Most of the fires in Canaries were on gentle sloping lands, (less than 10 percent) and appeared to be of an agricultural nature.  The wildfires either on the roadside may have been set by farmers using the slash and burn method to clear land for planting, or  may have been set by lit cigarette buts, foreign objects in the dry grass, or intentionally set by pedestrians. Notable in all the locations were the presence of species like Bamboo, Razor Grass and Heliconia Leucaena, Gliricida and Coconut trees- species (see Table 3) of high calorific content and by the foliar structure made spread of wildfires more probable especially  as they were dry during the prolonged dry season.

Canaries was also one of the sites that recorded a relatively high number of plant counts 47 (see Table 2) and 18 counts for wildlife (see Table 4). 

Venus, located in close proximity to the Forest Reserve recorded the highest number of counts of plants- 61 (see Table 2) and the highest number of counts of fauna (see table 4).

There were also wildfires in Millet near Parc Estate that were reported to be of an initial agricultural origin that went out of control.

There were fewer wildfires in the Vanard area.  This area is general highly populated and is used for agriculture and housing.

Most of the wildfires in the Anse La Raye area were near the road side.

From the point of view of biodiversity of ecological importance for conservation, three (3) endemic species of fauna were identified in this study:  the St. Lucian Oriole, the St. Lucian Parrot and the St. Lucian Warbler.  The St. Lucian Parrot was identified in Millet and Venus.  The St. Lucian Oriole was only identified in Millet.  The St. Lucian Warbler was identified in Canaries, Millet and in Venus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1 Total Area Burnt by Wildfires

 

 Location

Acreage (acres)

Area (hectares)

Vanard

1.26

0.5

Venus

4.19

1.7

Millet

6.25

2.5

Canaries

12.4

5.0

Anse La Raye

1.82

0.7

25.9

10.5

 

Table 2 Abundance of Plants

Location

Counts of  Plants

Anse La Raye

24

Canaries

47

Millet

10

Venus

61

Vanard

6

 

Table 4 Abundance of Fauna

 Location

Counts of  Fauna

Anse La Raye

14

Canaries

18

Millet

19

Vanard

5

Venus

36

 

 

 

Table 3 Total Number and Diversity of most abundant Plants

Species

Number of Counts

Aralie

4

Cashew

4

Kakolie

4

Bwa Canon

5

 

Leucaena

5

Ti Bom

5

Gommier Maudit

6

Gliricida

6

Sip

6

Bwa Blan

7

Bamboo

7

White Cedar

9

Coconut

11

Mango

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 5 Total Number and Diversity of most Abundant Fauna

Species

Number

 of Counts

St. Lucian Oreole

2

St. Lucian Warbler

4

St. Lucian Parrot

4

Scaly Breasted Thrasher

6

Carib Grackle

10

Lesser Antillean Bullfinch

11

Lesser Antillean Saltator

13

Banana Quit

21

 

Conclusion

 

·         The total area burnt was approximately 10 hectares.  Most of the wildfires were in Canaries with 5 hectares, followed by Millet with 2.5 hectares, Venus with 1.7 hectares, Anse La Raye with 0.7 hectares and Vanard with 0.5 hectares.

 

·         Venus was the site with the highest number of counts of plants and fauna: 61 and 36 respectively.  Canaries recorded 47 counts of plants and 18 of fauna, Anse La Raye 24 of plants and 14 of fauna, Millet 10 plants and 19 of fauna, and Vanard with 6 counts of plants and 5 of fauna.

 

·         Three endemic faunal species were present in the site inventoried.  They were: the St. Lucian Parrot, the St. Lucian Oriole and the St. Lucian Warbler.  Native plant species that inventoried were Bwa Blan,  Lowye Mabre, Dalmarie, Bwa Canon, Bwa Bleu, Mahoe Cochon, Aralie, Bay Leaf and White Cedar and Kakoli, Sip, Savonette, Bwa Damand, Bwa Tan Si and Sip.

 

·         The causes of the wildfires are uncertain.  There were many plausible causes of the wildfires included: being set by farmers using the slash and burn method to clear land for planting, or may have been set by lit cigarette buts, foreign objects in the dry grass, or intentionally set by pedestrians.  In most cases especially in the Venus and Canaries areas these wildfires went out of control where the initial purpose of the fire was for agricultural purposes.

 

·         The prolonged drought caused the increased probability and incidence of wildfires.  The intensity and spread of wildfires was enhanced with the presence of plant species with high calorific content including: Leucaena, Gliricida, Razor grass and Bamboo.

Recommendations

1.      Some of these parcels are on a gentle slope and would be good for grazing before the onset of the dry season. This would help keep the brush under control therefore lessening the amount of material that will fuel fires in the dry season.  This venture should be undertaken in collaboration with the Extension Division and private land owners and farmers.

 

2.      Pruning of branches and trees before the onset of the dry season.  Establishment of wildfire traces in areas prone to or where prescribed burnings will be carried out.

 

3.      Reforestation using the existing local species including: Bwa Blan,  Lowye Mabre, Dalmarie, Bwa Canon, Bwa Bleu, Mahoe Cochon, Aralie, Bay Leaf and White Cedar and Kakoli, Sip, Savonette, Bwa Damand, Bwa Tan Si and Sip.

4.       

 

5.      Fat poke can be used for terracing on some of the steeper areas as it has proven to be very good as a fire retardant and also recovers very well after a fire.

 

6.      Forest officers should also be trained in the suppression of fires and there should be increased patrols around the hot spots where fires are being set.  

 

7.      Education programs should be developed especially in Canaries and Venus with private land owners as the Forestry Department does not manage lands in these areas.  There should be collaboration with the Fire Department, the National Emergency Management Organization ( NEMO), the Extension Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry and Fisheries and the Schools.

 

8.      The dynamics in the populations of the 3 endemic species should be monitored in Venus, Millet and Canaries.  Fruit trees such as Kakoli should be part of reforestation programs in the mentioned areas that were burnt.



Appendix

 

Table 1   Summary of Data on the Flora, Fauna and Use and Extent of Wildfires that Occurred in the Millet Range

DATE

WAY-POINT

FLORA

FAUNA

VEGETATION

EXTENT

REMARKS

28/4/2010

N. 1356.610

grapefruit, oranges, breadfruit

Banana Quit, Grackles

AGRICULTURE

1 acre

about 150 feet from the Sarrot river

 

W. 060.59.495

coconut, Roseau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28/4/2010

N.1356.597

bois canon, guava, low shrubs

King bird, Banana Quit,

AGRICULTURE

1 acre

alongside road

 

W. 060 59.569

and grass, mango

Grackles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.942

Palms, blue mahoe,

Banana Quit, Bullfinch, Ramier,

 

0.25 acres

secondary forest growing venus estate

 

W. 06100.273

mango bwa blan

St. Lucian Warbler, Saltator

 

 

ferns re-generating along road-side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.941

SAME AS ABOVE

SAME AS ABOVE

 

0.01 acres

ferns re-growing

 

W. 06100.603

SAME AS ABOVE

SAME AS ABOVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.967

mabre, dal marie, bois blan

Thrashers, Banana Quits

 

0.35 acres

razor grass might have fuelled fire

 

W. 06100.624

bois canon, mahoe cachon,

 

 

 

Secondary Tropical Forest

 

 

coconut palms

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.974

bois blea, dedefounden, bois

Banana Quits, Saltator, Bullfinch

 

0.01 acre

lots of razor grass

 

W. 06100.675

blan, coconut, garlic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.982

coconut, mango, powye, bois

Banana Quit, Bullfinch

 

0.02 acres

razor grass and ferns

 

W. 06100.703

blan, bay leaf, mahoe cochon

 

 

 

could have facilitated fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.986

 

Parrots, Gracklers, Humming

 

0.15 acres

Secondary Forest

 

W. 06100.723

 

birds, Banana Quit, Bullfinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.989

coconut, ferns, powye,

Grackles, Humming birds,

 

0.15 acres

Secondary Forest

 

W. 06100.753

bois blan

 Banana Quit, Bullfinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.337

gommier, maudit, bamboo,

Saltator, Elaenia

 

1.5 acres

callapo maconoides - regenerate

 

W. 06103.716

powye, lucaena

 

 

 

pangola grass regenerating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.303

bamboo, glory cedar, Campeche

Saltator, Warbler

 

0.5 acres

regeneration- tetneg, sensitive plant

 

W. 06103.659

lucaena powye, tibom

Butterflies

 

 

 high regen of yellow flowered plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.625

powye, campache, gommier,

Saltator, Bullfinch, Banana

 

4 acres

dry scrub forest around digicel satellite

 

W. 06103.865

maudit, Ti bon

Quit, Grackle

 

 

receiver high pangola regen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.402

gommier maudit, lucaena,

 

 

0.75 acres

regenate pangola sensitive plant

 

W. 06103.553

bamboo, mango

 

 

 

high lucaena regenated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N.1354.497

gommier maudit, glory

 

 

0.25 acres

Secondary Dry Forest

 

W. 06103.464

cedar, ti bom, cashew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.589

glory cedar, flamboyant,

Zenaida Dove, Elaenia

 

0.15 acres

regenarating calapo, tet neg

 

W. 06103.502

ti bom, gommier, maudit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.681

 

 

 

1.2 acres

150 degrees north

 

W. 06103.397

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1355.180

bois l'homme, bread fruit,

Lesser Antillean Fly Catcher

 

0.20 acres

on a steep slope about 25 degrees

 

W. 06100.856

kakolie

 

 

 

heliconia leaves might have fuelled fire,

 

 

 

 

 

 

established forest

3/5/2010

N. 1355.191

mango, marbre, sip

Banana Quit, Saltator, Ramier

 

0.35 acres

secondary forest on a steep slope

 

W. 06101.016

savonnette, bois tan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1355.165

garlic, bois canon, wild

Saltator, Banana Quit, Vircos

 

1.25 acres

very steep slope on either side of the

 

W. 06101.112

anthurium, bamboo, kakolie,

Butterflies, Thrashers

 

 

road was burnt

 

 

sip

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1355.738

SAME AS ABOVE

SAME AS ABOVE

 

 

Minor Fire

 

W. 06101.673

SAME AS ABOVE

SAME AS ABOVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1355.731

SAME AS ABOVE

SAME AS ABOVE

 

 

Minor Fire

 

W. 06101.712

SAME AS ABOVE

SAME AS ABOVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1355.789

sip, hog plum, glory cedar,

Banana Uuit, Grackle,

 

0.1

10 meters east of the

 

W. 06101.873

mango, coconut

Saltator

 

 

Anse La-Raye river

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.884

powye, strangler fig,

Birds

 

4 acres

60 degrees north of G.P.S. point

 

W. 06103.258

 gommier, maudit

 

 

 

about 6 parcels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.983

strangler fig, glory cedar,

Thrashers, Banana Quit

 

0.5 acres

very steep slope on the edge of the

 

W. 06102.590

lian duce, powye, gommier

 

 

 

highway 62 degrees north

 

 

maudit, ti bom

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1354.127

elephant grass, mango, lucaena

 

 

0.25 acres

260 degrees north

 

W. 06102.459

sip, lian duce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

SAME AS ABOVE

glory cedar, ti bom, powye

Thrashers, Banana Quit

 

0.25 acres

60 degrees north

 

SAME AS ABOVE

bwa guan fey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1355.222

pat poul, tet neg, bwa gwon

Birds

 

0.2 acres

 

 

W. 06102.509

fey, bois tan cashew, elephant

 

 

 

 

 

 

grass

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1355.342

pat poul, powye, lucaena, pine

Birds

 

2 acres

good for grazing

 

W. 06102.536

mango, cashew, lian duce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/5/2010

N. 1355.975

mangoes, powye, campache,

Birds

 

1.5 acres

20 degrees north of G.P.S. point

 

W. 06102.742

coconut

 

 

 

good for grazing  and used for

 

 

 

 

 

 

agriculture

5/5/2010

N. 1354.400

coconut, grass

Grackles, Banana Quit,

 

0.25 acres

agriculture land on the edge of road

 

W. 06059.711

 

Bullfinch, Oreoles, Parrots

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Lucian Warbler

 

 

 

5/5/2010

N. 1354.376

coconut, ferns, mangoes,

Agouti, Mongoose, Parrots

 

2.5 acres

about 350 meters east of main road on

 

W. 06059.727

bois domande

Oreoles, Warbler, Bullfinch,

 

 

a partially abandoned farm

 

 

 

Saltator

 

 

 

5/5/2010

N. 1354.408

bois blan,  bois domande,

Butterflies, Parrots, Agouti,

 

1.25 acres

abandoned agricultural  area about 200

 

W. 06059.715

 mangoes, coconut ferns

Mongoose

 

 

meters east of main road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5/5/2010

N. 1354.740

guava, cashew, mango

Bullfinch,Kingbird

 

 

fire burnt both east and west side

 

W. 06059.678

bamboo, heliconia

Hummingbird, Saltator

 

 

of road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2 Scientific Names of Plants in the Inventory of Areas affected by Wildfires

NUMBER

LOCAL NAME

SCIENTIFIC NAME

1

coconut

cocos nucifera

2

blue mahoe

hibiscus elatus

3

mango

mangifera indica

4

bwa blan

simaruba amara

5

lowye mabre

ocotea leucoxylon

6

dalmarie

adenanthera pavonina

7

bwa canon

cecropia schreberiana

8

mahoe cochon

sterculia caribaea

9

bois bleu

symplocos martinicensis

10

dedefouden

ocotea leucoxylon

11

aralie

clusia major

12

white cedar

onnosia monospenna

13

bay leaf

pimenta racemosa

14

gommier maudit

bursera simaruba

15

Leucaena

leucaena leucocephala

16

bamboo

bambusa vulgaris

17

glory cedar

gliricidia sepium

18

campeche

haematoxylum campechianum

19

ti bom

croton guildingii

20

cashew

anacardium occidentale

21

flambouyant

delonix regia

22

bwa l'homme

guazuma ulmifolia

23

breadfruit

artocarpus altilis

24

kakolie

inga ingoides

25

sip

cordia sulcata

26

savonnette

lonchocarpus punctatus