ICCF’s International Conservation Corps sent a team of conservation experts to Nassau, the Bahamas from December 4-10, 2016 to provide technical assistance on forest monitoring to the Forestry Unit of the Ministry of Environment and Housing.
The focus was on the four Pine Islands but with a vision to monitoring all the islands as part of a National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS). The development of the NFMS is part of a larger Global Environmental Facility (GEF) project administered by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). This trip focused on planning with particular emphasis on the NFMS information needs.
While in Nassau, the team conducted a number of meetings, including the following:
- Meeting with most of the Forestry Unit to discuss the GEF project and National Forest Monitoring Systems.
- Trip to Andros to visit the Davis Creek mangrove restoration project area and the Central Andros National Park operated by the Bahamas National Trust in order to view pine and coppice forest types with trail access and look at a large blue hole within the park boundary. Visit to the sustainable livelihood portion of Andros Island as well as a remote village in the northern part of Andros. Visit to an area with extensive harbor damage from a hurricane and large areas of forest mortality resulting from salt water inundation associated with the storm surge. The field visits underscored the logistical challenges facing NFI implementation.
- Meeting to discuss project objectives and monitoring questions, metrics, past efforts and future plans, precision versus inventory cost, etc.
- Meeting to discuss next steps, including the field manual and training. Field work will start in March/April.
As a result of these meetings and field visits, the International Conservation Corps team developed a number of recommendations for the project and agreed to roles and next steps.