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Nariva Swamp and urbanization


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Nariva Swamp, Trinidad

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Nariva Swamp and urbanization

  1. 1. The Nariva Swamp <ul><li>Cheryl Lans </li></ul>
  2. 2. Nariva Swamp
  3. 4. Trinidad and Tobago statistics <ul><li>Population: 1.3 million, Surface area 5.1 thousand sq km, Population per sq km 254, Popln growth 0.6% (same as North American avg) </li></ul><ul><li>Life expectancy (2000) 73 years </li></ul><ul><li>GNP per capita US$ 4,930, GDP US $7.3 billion </li></ul><ul><li>21% of the population fell below the national poverty line in 1992 (this would include many people in the Nariva communities). </li></ul>
  4. 5. Introduction <ul><li>The Nariva Swamp in Trinidad consists of 6234 hectares. It is composed of the Nariva Windbelt Forest Reserve of 6,267 acres & the Manzanilla Extension, 383.2 hectares. </li></ul><ul><li>The Bush Bush section of the Nariva Swamp (1,740 ha.) is an area of high ground that was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1968 with a grant of $5000 U.S. from the New York Zoological Society. It became a prohibited area in 1989. The Nariva Swamp is protected by 3 main pieces of legislation: the Forests Act, Chapter 66: 01; the Conservation of Wildlife Act, Chapter 67: 01; the State Lands Act, Chapter 57: 01. </li></ul>
  5. 6. History: Urbanization plans for the Nariva Swamp <ul><li>Historically speaking the Nariva Swamp was not seen as a conservation site but as a potential energy site. </li></ul><ul><li>It was also thought of in terms of urbanization: there was concern about the increasing congestion of existing urban areas, so a new town was planned that would have meant draining the Nariva Swamp. </li></ul><ul><li>These ideas show that the Swamp lands were considered “idle lands” and in order for “progress” to occur there had to be development of the area. This is an example of “the logic of growth” argument. </li></ul>
  6. 7. In-migration and squatting <ul><li>Agriculture consists of cutting, burning and planting, followed by abandonment in favour of newly cleared land. Agricultural land is allowed to go to other uses like for housing and farmers then apply for new State lands including Swamps and migrate into these new areas even before they get permission. </li></ul><ul><li>Squatters and community residents are sometimes taken to court for wildlife poaching and tree felling. However being taken to court did not stop squatters from taking more and more land in the Swamp. </li></ul>
  7. 8. Logic of growth argument <ul><li>In 1983 the National Physical Development Plan was introduced into Parliament. This plan contained a recommendation for a growth pole in the &quot;undeveloped Nariva Swamp which was to be converted into 9000 acres for intensive farming, 7500 acres for livestock rearing. Cultivation of idle lands of good agricultural potential were to form the basis of sizeable food processing and other agro-based industry&quot;. This Plan was debated and approved in 1984. </li></ul>
  8. 9. Land use controversies <ul><li>For decades the Swamp has been the centre of concern and controversy because of the real conflict between legal and illegal commercial use of the Swamp (logging, rice production, fishing) and the ecological and physical sustainability of the Swamp. </li></ul><ul><li>The Nariva Swamp has been threatened in the past by illegal squatting; the conversion of land to cannabis and rice farming, illegal grazing of livestock in the game sanctuary, overfishing and illegal timber harvesting, illegal hunting and excessive trapping of birds for the pet trade. </li></ul>
  9. 10. Nariva land use
  10. 11. Biodiversity <ul><li>There are 171 species of birds. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Waterfow l include the white faced tree duck or whistling duck (Dendrocygna viduata), the wild muscovy duck (Cairina moschata), the black bellied or red billed whistling duck (Dendrocygena autumnalis) and the fulvous whistling duck (Dendrocygena bicolor). The swamp also serves as a refuge for North migrating water birds. <ul><li>The swamp supports endangered indigenous species such as the seed eating finches, the twa twa (Oryzoborous irostris) and bullfinch (Oryzoborous angolensis), the rare red-bellied macaw (Ara manilata), the rare blue and gold macaw (Ara ararauna) and the moriche oriole (Icterus chrysocephalus). </li></ul>
  12. 13. There are 57 species of mammals of which 32 are bats, and several species of reptiles. Troops of red howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus) and weeping capuchin monkeys (Calbifrons trinitatis), three species of oppossums (Caluromis philander, Didelphis marsupialis and Marmosa robinsoni), the three-toed and silky anteaters (Tamandua tetradactyla and Cyclopes didactylus) and the tree porcupine (Coendu prehensilis) all roam the swamp’s diverse habitats.
  13. 14. Other biodiversity <ul><li>Nariva consists of palm swamp forest, an endemic species of Moriche palm (Mauritia flexuosa var trinitensis) and over 1,550 hectares of highland forest. The swamp is the spawning ground of many freshwater fish including the cascadura (Hoplosternum littorale), an important source of food for many people. </li></ul><ul><li>Other rare species are the manatee (Tricheus manatus), the giant anaconda (Eunectes murinus) and the country’s largest freshwater turtle, the mata mata (Chelys fimbriata). </li></ul>
  14. 15. Small scale rice <ul><li>In 1954 the Colonial Government established the Plum Mitan rice scheme in the Nariva swamp. It was meant to provide 2 ha. to 5 ha. to family farms. Plum Mitan is approximately 375 hectares, of which one-third is in use each year. In 1957, a report on the reclamation of the Caroni, Oropouche and Nariva areas for rice and other agricultural production was completed (FAO). In 1976/77 the Ministry of Agriculture planned to rehabilitate 1400 acres in Plum Mitan to produce 2200 lbs rice/ acre or 3,080,000 lbs /annum. 1500 acres at Kernahan /Cascadoux (small settlements in the Swamp) were to produce 3,300,000 lbs/ annum. </li></ul>
  15. 16. Agricultural policy was to reduce food imports and have more self-sufficiency by growing rice <ul><li>In 1970 a plan developed by Japanese scientists called for drainage and agricultural development of the Nariva swamp and settlement of 640 new families in 3 new villages in the Swamp basin. Besides rice the plan recommended corn and soya and grazing on the higher ground. However local soil scientists suggested that Nariva Swamp soils were unsuitable for agriculture and should be left under tree crops and forest. In 1979, a report produced by a local wetlands scientist suggested: 4000 acres for rice, 4000 for cattle, 8000 acres for fisheries, a Cocal Reservoir and the maintenance of the Wildlife Sanctuary. This scientist also a developed an aquaculture proposal for Nariva Swamp in 1985 (FAO-sponsored). </li></ul>
  16. 17. Nariva communities: Kernahan and Cascadoo <ul><li>Small scale communities in the Swamp were composed of Indo-Trinidadians who had moved from elsewhere. They tended to have large families who helped catch fish and plant rice. Children dropped out of school early because these communities did not make much money from their activities and could not afford school uniforms, books and transportation. The Swamp was a difficult place to live in and there is a high level of alcohol abuse. </li></ul>
  17. 18. Rice subsidy leads to Swamp conversion <ul><li>Agricultural planners decided to provide a subsidy for rice growers in the mid-1980s, to stimulate rice production and achieve national self-sufficiency. Because of the subsidy large-scale producers converted Sector B of the Swamp into commercial rice production in 1986. </li></ul><ul><li>These squatters migrated to Nariva because they had already destroyed the Oropouche lagoon by growing rice intensively and altering the drainage patterns so that salt water entered the lagoon. In 1988, the Draft Public Sector Investment Programme laid in Parliament by the Planning and Mobilisation Minister included expanded rice production for Plum Mitan (according to one large scale rice farmer). </li></ul>
  18. 19. Agriculture and declining biodiversity <ul><li>In the 1980s the large scale growers had a negative impact on the Nariva flora and fauna and also on the livelihood of the small rice farmers. Manatees were endangered by the illegal blocking of water courses, salt water intrusion resulted from the illegal widening and deepening of water courses, and agricultural chemicals damaged fauna. </li></ul><ul><li>Environmentalists stepped up their protests and claimed there had to be a “limit to the growth” allowed in the Nariva Swamp. </li></ul>
  19. 20. Squatters take more land <ul><li>The State Lands Division of Ministry of Agriculture was accepting applications for State Lands within the Plum Mitan area. However squatters were then taking land in the Bush Bush Wildlife Sanctuary, Ortoire-Nariva windbelt Reserve and proposed National Parks area. The Minister of Agriculture advised that no action could be taken against the squatters in the Bush Bush wildlife sanctuary because the boundaries were not clear. The Wildlife Section of the Ministry of Agriculture who were supposed to be protecting the Swamp were given very little money from the Government and a private company had to donate $2,000.00 for gasoline and oil towards patrols for the Nariva Swamp. However there weren’t enough jeeps to monitor the squatters. </li></ul>
  20. 22. The story continues…. <ul><li>The Nariva Swamp was included on the Montreux Record in 1993 in Kushiro, Japan (CFCA, 1996). Three female environmental activists went to this meeting. The Montreux Record is a register of Ramsar sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference. This was done because the farmers were still in the Swamp although the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources announced plans to evict all large rice farmers from Nariva Swamp and make it into a National Park in May 1993. </li></ul>
  21. 23. International recognition <ul><li>Environmentalists made a big effort to make the Swamp an international site and therefore remove it from local political decisions. International recognition came in 1992 when Trinidad and Tobago put Nariva Swamp on the List of Wetlands of International Importance maintained under the Ramsar Convention on 21 April 1993. The total area of the Ramsar site is 6,234 hectares which is the same area as the Nariva Swamp Prohibited Area and proposed National Park </li></ul>
  22. 24. Farmers still in the Swamp in 1995 <ul><li>The environmentalists also went to court to remove the farmers. On July 28th 1993, the judge ruled that the wildlife, flora and fauna in the Nariva Swamp must be protected in the public interest. The lawyer for the rice farmers claimed that they should be considered as squatters or persons in possession of lands with knowledge that they will be given the lands. Two of the large illegal rice farmers appealed against the judge’s decision and conservatory order. The Appeal Court Judge dismissed the appeal on September 23, 1993. In February 1995, the Land and Surveys Division served 150 quit notices on farmers. Very few farmers left. </li></ul>
  23. 25. Environmental Impact Assessment <ul><li>In 1994 the Wildlife Section still needed donations of cash ($4000.00) to buy gasoline and oil to patrol for the Nariva Swamp. </li></ul><ul><li>The Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) was contracted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago through the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Marine Resources to conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of activities within the Nariva Swamp area on September 5, 1997. In addition to the EIA, a management plan for the Nariva Swamp was to be prepared together with a monitoring plan to monitor the impacts of the recommended activities of the management plan. </li></ul>
  24. 27. Environmental deficit <ul><li>The economic component of the EIA concluded: </li></ul><ul><li>The large scale rice farming in Block B gave net revenue of $2,392,100 per year, the social value of this production was negative $4,249,763 because of the actual and implied subsidies received by the rice farmers. 1090 ha. of Nariva Swamp were permanently modified by large-scale rice growing causing permanent damage of $110.5 million. It may be concluded that rice growing was not socially desirable as an economic activity. Thus large-scale rice growing in Block B had an overall negative impact on the nation </li></ul>
  25. 28. <ul><li>Environmental deficit is the profound and negative long-term harm to the natural environment caused by human focus on short term gain at the expense of the environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Large-scale farmers were producing poor quality rice that was used to feed pet dogs – they were not feeding the nation as they claimed. US rice was imported for human consumption. The farmers were making a profit because they were subsidized by the government. </li></ul><ul><li>In July 1996, an environmental activist presented a petition of 12,000+ signatures to the government demanding that the illegal rice farming taking place in the Swamp had to stop. Despite the legal decision and quit notices being served, the illegal farming continued until November 1996. In October 1996, the farmers were finally forced to leave the Swamp. </li></ul>