Forests of Trinidad


    THE present position of forestry in Trinidad (Trinidad and Tobago, Forest Dept. Admin. Report for Year 1943. Trinidad and Tobago: Govt. Printer) appears to be of considerable interest. There are not many British Colonies which can state that the general position with regard to forest reservation is eminently satisfactory, and that the forest reserves occupy 22·7 of the total area of the Colony "after deducting the area leased to the U.S.A."; and further, that "almost all the forest reserves are now governed by Working Plans under which some form of elementary yield control has been introduced". This is, or should be, the first object in management to be aimed at by the trained forest officer; but, whatever the reasons, it has been neglected in most of the forest regions under the Colonial Office. As elsewhere in the British Empire, the bar-restrictions in timber imports have resulted in the demand for unseasoned local timber exceeding the supply. This being the case, it is difficult to follow the argument that high costs (these prevail everywhere), low volume production per acre (common to the tropical mixed forest generally), and high loss in conversion of tropical woods make it doubtful whether any such supply from the natural mixed forests could in normal times compete with imports. The exploitation of the more or less gregarious Mora forests has been under consideration for years; it is now said that there is a high conversion loss owing to the refractory nature of Mora as a timber. It would appear that there is now an unexpected chance to introduce, as has always been the case in most parts of India, the indigenous Trinidad timbers to the population in such a manner as to render their use a permanency in the Colony. There is no mention in the report of a recognition of the advantages offered to the type of forests existing in Trinidad by the introduction of a plywood mill.

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