Issues relating to sustainable land management are high on the list of priorities for Barbados.
This was among research findings disclosed last week by consultants of Lynette G. Taylor and Associates, the company contracted by the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage to develop a communications strategy for the just concluded Sustainable Land Management Project.
Speaking during the closing ceremony for the project at Hilton Barbados recently, Research Consultant with the company, Jan Blenman, said 91 per cent of the sample indicated that the protection and management of Barbados’ lands was very important.
Among the reasons given for the importance of sustainable land management were: the provision of a legacy for future generations; it would enable the country to produce more food, while safeguarding and sustaining the health of people; it would form a critical element of the island’s tourism product, if it was to continue attracting visitors; and that it is important to the country’s housing sector through commercial and recreational development.
Blenman also noted that respondents identified dumping in gullies, soil and coastal erosion, accelerated housing development and construction, and a declining land mass as perceived threats to Barbados’ land resources.
Of that grouping, she said 78 per cent identified the construction sector as being the primary contributors to land degradation, while people in general, real estate developers, heavy duty equipment operators and the Government were also identified as contributing to the problem.
The respondents noted that the impacts of land degradation could range from loss of soil, damage to residential and commercial properties, reduced crop yields, loss of income, pollution of the water table, increased costs to the country, increased vulnerability to natural hazards and food security challenges.
Blenman added that the Scotland District was identified as being the area most affected by land degradation, followed by the parishes of St. Joseph and St. Andrew, the east coast and Bathsheba.
“Members of the general public do have some basic idea of sustainable land management and can give you a definition of at least one element of sustainable land management,” the consultant pointed out.
She added that explanations provided by respondents on the topic also reflected the elements and principles involved in sustainable land management.
Blenman said recommendations suggested by the public included the continuation of gully, beaches and lots clean-up campaigns, more public education, the planting of more trees across the island and better management of the sale of land. (BGIS)