Tobago’s Main Ridge Forest Reserve declared a National Heritage Site

Local authorities eye UNESCO World Heritage Site listing next

Minister of Planning & Development Camille Robinson-Regis has announced that the Trinidad & Tobago government has declared the Main Ridge Forest Reserve in Tobago a National Heritage Site under the National Trust Act. It is also one of the Forest and Protected Areas of T&T. This allows the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago, which is part of the Ministry of Planning and Development, to permanently reserve lands that are property of interest, retain their natural features as far as possible, and conserve their animal and plant life. The broader aim, says the Ministry, is to next have the site declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Oropendula (corn bird) nests and epiphytes adorn the trees in the Main Ridge Forest Reserve, Tobago. Photo by Rapso Imaging

Oropendula (corn bird) nests and epiphytes adorn the trees in the Main Ridge Forest Reserve, Tobago. Photo by Rapso Imaging

The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) approved this motion in March 2018, promoting the Main Ridge Forest Reserve as a protected area, part of a Tobago Protected Area Assistance Plan focusing on northeast Tobago. The THA reportedly has appointed a team to compile the necessary information to produce the National Heritage Dossier in keeping with the guidelines set out by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, which will be of major importance to the nomination of World Heritage Status by UNESCO. Also encompassed in this plan, said the Ministry, are the Marine Protected Area which includes Little Tobago, Goat Island, and St Giles Island — all of which belong to the State and are already deemed protected areas.

Little Tobago and Goat Island

Little Tobago, seen here behind Goat island, is an important breeding ground for seabirds, and was once a protected habitat of the Greater Bird of Paradise. Forty-five juveniles were introduced to the island in 1909 in an attempt to save the species, but a hurricane hit in 1963, and all were killed. Glass-bottomed boats offer tours of the island that include snorkelling on Angel Reef. Courtesy the Division of Tourism and Transportation

The Ministry says that these initiatives all seek to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of the cultural and natural heritage of the area, which is considered as outstanding value. Trinidad & Tobago has been ratified under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in February 2005, and stands to benefit from the inscription of the Tobago Main Ridge on the World Heritage List. The Ministry says the benefits would not only be from an environmental conservation standpoint, but because the Government believes that tourism development, heritage conservation and protection, education and awareness as well as social and economic development are all areas  where significant benefits can be acquired for T&T.

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For background information on the Tobago Main Ridge please visit https://www.protectedareastt.org.tt/index.php/profile-of-sites/198-main-ridge-profile.

Posted by Caroline Taylor

writer & editor • actor, singer, producer & director • egalitarian • animal & nature lover • island girl • water baby • perennial discoverer

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