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Case Study Guide

For CAPE geography, environmental science and biology


THE CROPPER FOUNDATION

Csg
Case Study Guide

For CAPE geography, environmental science and biology

Copyright/ Printing:
Users may download, reuse, reprint, or copy text and figures from Case Study Guide: for CAPE geography,
environmental science and biology, so long as the original source is credited.

Citation:
The document may be cited as, Rawlins, Maurice and Mary Alkins-Koo. 2009.
Case Study Guide: for CAPE Geography, Environmental Science and Biology. Port of Spain, Trinidad:
The Cropper Foundation (TCF).

For further information, please contact:


The Education Officer
The Cropper Foundation
Building 7, Fernandes Industrial Centre,
Laventille, Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: (868) 626-2628 Fax: (868) 626-2564
E-mail: info@thecropperfoundation.org

Photographs: Maurice Rawlins, Tina Holley, and Roger M. Smith


Cover, Layout and Design: Christian Alexis • idesigneverything.com
Editorial Support: Anu Lakhan
Acknowledgements
The Cropper Foundation acknowledges the contributions made by many persons in the preparation of this docu-
ment. Special thanks are extended to Angela Cropper, the Environment and Resource Education (IERE) Adviso-
ry Committee; the University of the West Indies (UWI); the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago; the
Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (EMA); the Buccoo Reef Trust; the Caribbean
Natural Resources Institute (CANARI); the Chaguaramas Development Agency (CDA); the Caribbean Exami-
nations Council (CXC); the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT); and the following individual experts for
their interest and contribution towards preparation of this document:

Authors:
Maurice Rawlins and Dr. Mary Alkins-Koo

Other Contributors:
Joseph Cazabon, Edmund Charles, Talisha Cox, Simone Dieffenthaller, Myrna Ellis, Keston Finch,
Keisha Garcia, Nadia Mohammed, Omar Mohammed, Jeet Ramjattan, Tessa Sooklal

IERE Advisory Committee:


Prof. John Agard, Dr. Mary Alkins-Koo, Robyn Cross, Prof. Julien Duncan, Carol Keller, Dr. Dani Lyndersay,
Cerronne Prevatt, Henry Saunders, Prof. John Spence, Nordia Weekes, Dr. Rachael Williams.

Reviewers:
Joseph Cazabon (St. Mary’s College)
Robyn Cross (EMA)
Keisha Garcia (EMA)
Nicole Leotaud (CANARI)
Barry Lovelace (Buccoo Reef Trust)
Dr. Michael Oatham (UWI)
Sundar Seecharan (Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources of Trinidad and Tobago)
Dr. Rachael Williams (UTT)

We acknowledge the financial support of The Packard Foundation for the preparation of this document.
Table of Contents
(click the link to access the section)

Introduction

Guidelines to Learning Activities


Swot Analysis and Stratagic Matrix
Leopold Matrix
5 Whys
Conducting Surveys
Sampling Methodologies
Good Field and Laboratory Practices
Measuring Ecosystem Diversity using a species area curve
Estimating Habitat Area using the Grid Overlay Method
Estimating Slope Angle and Gradient
Soil texture
Estimating Stream Depth, Stream Velocity and Stream Flow
Measuring Turbidity of a Water Body
Measuring Total Suspended Solids in a Water Sample
Estimating Plankton by Mass of a Water Sample
Sampling Benthic Invertebrates
Measuring Dissolved Oxygen levels of a Water Sample
Measuring Nitrate levels of a Water Sample
Measuring Phosphate levels of a Water Sample
Estimating pH Values of a Water Sample
Measuring Faecal Coliform levels of a Water Sample (Filtration Method)
Bird Counts

Arima Valley Case Study


Aripo Savannas Case Study
Buccoo Reef Case Study
Chaguaramas Peninsula Case Study
North Caroni Plains Case Study
Port of Spain Case Study
Introduction

Situation Analysis
In the past fifty years, the way teachers teach has changed considerably. In Trinidad and Tobago and the rest of
the English-speaking Caribbean, we’ve been revising the way that we think and act in education. The traditional
top-down delivery of curricula is giving way to an increasingly interactive style. Our assessment structures have
also changed as part of the evolution of education systems.

Since 1998, many Caribbean countries and territories have been phasing out the General Certificate of Educa-
tion (GCE) Advanced level examinations administered by the University of Cambridge in favour of the Ca-
ribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE). The CAPE curriculum, administered by the Caribbean
Examinations Council (CXC) is designed to provide certification to students who, having attained a Caribbean
Secondary School Certificate (CSEC), wish to pursue two additional years of study at the secondary school
level. This curriculum gives more focus to the nature and scope of issues relevant to the Caribbean. This is es-
pecially important because of the ever-growing challenges to sustainable development being faced in the region,
and the high rate of emigration of highly qualified and skilled individuals from the Caribbean. CAPE’s emphasis
on the Caribbean does not exclude the integration of global affairs; rather, it places the Caribbean in the context
of larger international topics and issues.

The CAPE curriculum encourages flexibility in labi place significant emphasis on building and using
teaching and learning methods. The development of case study material which teachers generally find dif-
critical-thinking, as well as analytical and research ficult to access. Some of the challenges that teachers
skills, enhance the students’ ability to manipulate basic face include, inter alia:
academic knowledge. i. How to decide what information needs to be
included in a case study? What stories can be told,
Need for a Case Study Booklet what issues can be highlighted, and what conclusions
At a 2006 seminar, CAPE geography, environmental can be made from the available data? Is there a frame-
science and biology teachers met with The Cropper work to guide this process?
Foundation, the Ministry of Education of Trinidad and ii. Accessing information to build case studies.
Tobago and the Environmental Management Authority Information is often scattered across various govern-
of Trinidad and Tobago (EMA) . to discuss their needs ment reports, scientific and technical papers making
in meeting curriculum requirements, and to determine data collection difficult. In some cases, acquiring the
how the Foundation might work with the Ministry to data also poses problems because of the bureaucratic
help meet these needs. processes required by some agencies and organisations
The CAPE environmental science and geography syl- to make such data publicly available.
iii. Difficulty in assessing and interpreting available These teaching aides include a handbook on sustain-
data. able development terms and concepts; a brochure and
In addition to case studies, the syllabi also call for a accompanying series of posters on the main findings
heavier fieldwork component, for which some teachers and conclusions of an assessment of the Northern
feel unprepared. In 2007, the Foundation, in collabora- Range of Trinidad; a series of capacity-development
tion with the Ministry embarked on a three-year joint workshops and tutorials for teachers; and a case study
programme that includes the delivery of a set of prod- guide. Through the case study guide the Foundation
ucts and activities designed to develop teacher capac- hopes to contribute to CAPE’s transformative
ity and make relevant materials available. approach to education.

The Case Study Guide


Because case studies are used across many different disciplines, several definitions exist. For example, case
studies used in law are summaries of actual court cases; for business studies, case studies can be evaluations of
a client’s experience and results regarding a service offered. For the purposes of the case studies developed by
The Cropper Foundation, we will use the following definition:

A case study is a written summary of real-life situations based


on data and research.
Case studies can be used to:
• Analyze real problems and events
• Draw out patterns, relationships, and themes
• Illustrate theories and how they are applied
• Present information on a particular event or situation
A well designed case study should identify a clear objective or desired outcome.

This guide created by The Cropper Foundation offers teachers, students and practitioners a set of tools and ap-
proaches that can be used for developing case studies. It is divided into four sections:
• Case studies of select areas in Trinidad and Tobago
• Guide for developing case studies
• Generic activities that can be used to help bridge gaps in understanding
• Generic methodologies for undertaking fieldwork

The case study guide is also meant to complement the other educational materials produced by the Foundation.
It is expected that teachers and students will find ways of using the full suite of materials to advance different
areas of the syllabi. For example, in the Aripo Savannas case study some management options are explored, and
the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is identified as a key input for developing a framework for man-
agement. But what is the CBD? Go to the Handbook of Sustainable Development Terms and Concepts: a Refer-
ence for Teachers and Students and see the section on Selected Conferences, Conventions, Agreements involved
in Sustainable Development. Teachers and students may find that when theoretical information, like the notes on
the CBD, is applied to practical situations, it is easier to understand and to remember.

Looking ahead
Further work on the guide for developing case studies will be based on the lessons gleaned from the current
guide. The Cropper Foundation is creating a programme of workshops, seminars and consultations on develop-
ing case studies to be rolled out over a period of three to five years. Through the programme, the Foundation
will continue to work closely with teachers and practitioners to help them use and adapt the guide. The experi-
ences of teachers and practitioners in using this guide will provide inputs for improvement of the current guide.
Guidelines to Learning Activities

SWOT Analysis and Strategic Matrix


What is it?

SWOT analysis is used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of a project or
activity. It can help students evaluate the challenges to achieving a particular objective, and identify solutions.

Strengths and weaknesses are usually inherent properties of an area, such as the availability or lack of resourc-
es. The absence of certain strengths is sometimes considered as weaknesses. For example, a large variety of
specialised insect species that are endemic to an area could be a strength. This could become a weakness if the
insect population faces a catastrophe from which it cannot recover because of lack of genetic variability because
of the high level of specialisation. Opportunities and threats are usually external such as the enforcement or
lack of enforcement of legislation guiding activities in an area.

The SWOT matrix has four cells,


referred to as strategies or interventions:

• SO are strategies or interventions that use strengths to create opportunities.


• WO are strategies or interventions that overcome and create opportunities from weaknesses.
• ST are strategies or interventions that use strengths to mitigate or reduce vulnerability to threats.
• WT are strategies or interventions to minimize weaknesses and reduce threats.

The following information is taken from a SWOT analysis of the sustainability of the conservation of Mongo-
lia’s wild horses, the takhi, in Hustai National Park. The example is provided to show some strengths, weak-
nesses, opportunities and threats as they relate to conservation of a species.
Objective: to build a viable, self-sustainable, free roaming population of some 400 to 500 takhi in Hustai
National Park (HNP).

How it works
• Because SWOT analysis is used to evaluate the challenges of achieving a particular objective associated
with a project or activity, the objective should first be defined.
• The next step is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities associated with achieving
the objective. Students are encouraged to properly research an area before attempting this step and to spend
some time thinking through this step, as there will be SWOTs that will not be immediately obvious, but do
affect achieving the objective. For example, the close proximity of a fragile ecosystem to a major roadway
can be a weakness, or multilateral environmental conventions, treaties and agreements can be opportunities
for an area. SWOTs are not always physical. For example, a threat to the management of the Aripo
Savannas as an Environmentally Sensitive Area can be the non-enforcement of legislation that can
encourage illegal squatting in the savannas.
Leopold Matrix
The Leopold matrix was designed to assess the impact of an activity or activities on the environment. It is wide-
ly used in undertaking environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and employs a method of weighting impacts.
For the purposes of the classroom, the weighting of impacts does not need to be as rigourous as for official or
state-regulated EIAs, and we can represent the environment as one or a set of ecosystems.

Often, activities are carried out in an ecosystem, and it appears that the ecosystem remains unaffected. This may
occur because the resilience of ecosystem components varies. Therefore, it is often useful to separate ecosys-
tems into different components and to then analyse the impacts of activities on the individual components.
The table below provides some components that can be used in the classroom:

How the matrix works


• The Leopold matrix draws on relevant examples of similar situations in which activities have impacted the
environment. Begin by researching examples of similar activities in similar environments.
• Create a matrix, with activities running vertically and ecosystem components running horizontally.
• Within the matrix, identify impacts as positive, negative, neutral, high, medium or low. Explain and discuss
the impacts beyond simply labelling them.
• Although this method has several advantages, including the ability to establish cause and effect relatio
ships, quantifying the impacts as high, medium or low can be difficult. Processes are often undervalued
because we do not yet fully understand how they work, and because they operate behind the scenes.
We tend to more easily identify with the tangible things associated with ecosystems such as water or animals
or plants. Teachers should spend time carefully examining with students the magnitude of impacts on any
one ecosystem component.
• The impacts can then be prioritised and managed accordingly.
An example of how the Leopold matrix can be used is provided below. The information presented is theoretical
and not relevant to a particular site.
5 Whys
The main of objective of the 5 Whys exercise is root cause analysis. Root cause analysis (RCA) is a problem-
solving method that attempts to correct or eliminate root causes instead of addressing the immediately obvious
problem-treating the cause and not the symptom. In the long term, it may be more expensive to keep treating
symptoms instead of addressing the cause.

In its initial stages, RCA is a reactive method of problem solving. However, by gaining experience and exper-
tise, it becomes a proactive method which helps forecast problems before they occur. Still, while this is impor-
tant, it does not replace the need for scientific evidence to support any assertions.

Management and other issues are often multi-layered and it may be impossible to identify a single root cause.
Although students are encouraged to think broadly, speculation can lead to errant information and conclusions.
As far as possible, draw on facts and seek out the correct information.

How it works
• The 5 Whys make up a series of questions and answers. After the initial problem is stated, each question is
based on the answer given for the previous one. Think of it as questioning the questions.
• The 5 Whys do not comprise a hard and fast rule and RCA can be accomplished in fewer or more than
5 Whys. However, studies and trials suggest that 5 Whys is often best for identifying root causes.
• Think critically about the Whys. In addition to helping to develop critical and analytical skills, this activity
helps to develop logical thought processes, encourages creative thinking and the resourcefulness to pull
information from a variety of sources.
• This activity can be done in pairs and questions and answers shared with the class and discussed.

An example of how the 5 Whys can be used is provided below.

Note that this example is oversimplified, and in reality issues tend to have multiple causes. This activity should
be repeated to include a variety of answers for the Whys. This can help students to appreciate the multitude of
complex factors surrounding any one issue.
Conducting Surveys
A survey is a research tool used to measure variables based on people’s responses to questions. It asks questions
about the individual’s feelings, opinions, values and expectations; the responses can then be synthesised to make
definitive conclusions. Surveys are good because they are:
• quick and inexpensive;
• an efficient way of collecting data from large numbers of people or those widely dispersed geographically;
• flexible – can be in-depth or superficial;
• able to collect data on numerous variables in a short period of time.

As an effective instrument, surveys can fall short because:


• analysing the data collected can be difficult without the right tools and experience;
• questionnaires may be biased based on the surveyor’s experience or situation;
• they may not get a truly representative view or opinion of the public if those surveyed only represent a small
portion of the population.

Developing a Survey
adapted from Creative Research Systems (2009).

1) Establish the goals of the project


Decide what you want to learn. The goals of the project determine who you will survey and what you will ask
them. If your goals are unclear, the results will probably be unclear. The more specific you can make your goals,
the easier it will be to get usable answers.

2) Determine your sample population


There are two main components in determining who you will interview. The first is deciding what kind of
people to interview. Researchers often call this group the target population. Correctly determining the target
population is critical. If you do not interview the right people, you will not successfully meet your goals.

Avoiding a biased sample - A biased sample will produce biased results. Totally excluding all bias is almost
impossible; however, if you recognize that bias exists, you can intuitively discount some of the answers. For
example, a survey that wants to get the general public’s views on quarrying in a watershed would be biased if
only the people living in or around the watershed are interviewed.

The next thing to decide is how many people you need to interview. Statisticians know that a small, representa-
tive sample will reflect the group from which it is drawn. The larger the sample, the more precisely it reflects the
target group. However, the rate of improvement in the precision decreases as your sample size increases.
For example, to increase a sample from 250 to 1,000 only doubles the precision. You must make a decision
about your sample size based on factors such as: time available, budget and necessary degree of precision.

Quota - A quota is a sample size for a sub-group. It is sometimes useful to establish quotas to ensure that your
sample accurately reflects relevant sub-groups in your target population. For example, men and women have
somewhat different opinions in many areas. If you want your survey to accurately reflect the general popula-
tion’s opinions, you will want to ensure that the percentage of men and women in your sample reflect their
percentages of the general population.

3) Choose interviewing methodology


The choice of interviewing method will depend on time, cost, literacy levels of your target population, and
sensitive questions. Sensitive questions are those questions that people may be hesitant to answer because
they draw on personal situations. These questions may include topics such as income, sexual preference,
and religious practices. Three popular survey methodologies are provided on the following page.
Remember: if you want a sample of 1,000 people,
and you estimate a 10% response level, you need
to mail 10,000 questionnaires.

4) Create your questionnaire


The first rule is to design the questionnaire to fit the interview method. Phone interviews cannot show pictures.
People responding to mail surveys cannot easily ask “What exactly do you mean by that?”, if they do not un-
derstand a question. Intimate, personal questions are sometimes best handled by mail where anonymity is most
assured.

If you present a twenty-page questionnaire most potential respondents will give up in horror before even start-
ing. Ask yourself how you will use the information from each question. If you cannot give yourself a satisfacto-
ry answer, leave it out. Avoid the temptation to add a few more questions just because you are doing a question-
naire anyway. If necessary, place your questions into three groups: must know, useful to know and nice to know.
Discard the last group, unless the previous two groups are very short.
Allow a “don’t know” or “not applicable” response to all questions, except to those in which you are certain
that all respondents will have a clear answer. In most cases, these are wasted answers as far as the researcher
is concerned, but are necessary alternatives to avoid frustrated respondents. Sometimes “don’t know” or “not
applicable” will really represent some respondents’ most honest answers to some of your questions. Respon-
dents who feel they are being coerced into giving an answer they do not want to give often do not complete the
questionnaire.

Researchers use three basic types of questions: multiple choice, numeric open end, and text open end
(sometimes called "verbatims"). Examples of each kind of question follow:

Multiple Choice
Where do you live?
North
South
East
West

Numeric Open End


How much would you pay to use this beach? ______

Text Open End


How can pollution of the Caroni River be reduced?
___________________________________
___________________________________

Rating scales and agreement scales are two common types of questions that some researchers treat as multiple
choice questions and others treat as numeric open end questions. Examples of these kinds of questions are:
Rating Scales
How would you rate the Northern Range as an eco-tourist destination?
Excellent
Good
Fair
Poor

On a scale where 10 means you have a great amount of interest in a subject and 1 means you have none at all,
how would you rate interest in each of the following topics:
Multilateral environmental agreements ___
Health and well-being ___
Business ___

Agreement Scales
How much would you agree with the following statement:

Enough is being done to raise environmental awareness in the Caribbean region.
Strongly Agree
Agree
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Question-and-answer choice order
There are two broad issues to keep in mind when considering question-and-answer choice order. One is how
the choice order can encourage people to complete your survey. The other issue is how the order of questions or
the order of answer choices could affect the results of your survey.

Question order
• Ideally, the early questions in a survey should be easy and pleasant to answer. These kinds of questions
encourage people to continue the survey. In telephone or personal interviews they help build rapport with
the interviewer. Grouping together questions on the same topic also makes the questionnaire easier to
answer.
• Whenever possible, leave difficult or sensitive questions until near the end of your survey. The more
comfortable people get during the interview is the greater chance of eliciting a response.
• Question order can affect the results in two ways:
1. Mentioning something in one question can make people think of it while they answer a later question,
where they might not have thought of it if it had not been previously mentioned. In some cases you may
be able to reduce this problem by separating related questions with unrelated ones.
2. When a series of questions have the same answer choices some people will usually start giving the same
answer, without really considering it. Consider changing the answer choices by rewording or simply
omit repetitive questions.

Answer choice order


• Answer choice order can make individual questions easier or more difficult to answer. Whenever there is a
logical or natural order to answer choices, use it. Always present agree-disagree choices in that order.
Presenting them in disagree-agree order will seem odd. For the same reason, positive to negative and
excellent to poor scales should be presented in those orders. When using numeric rating scales, higher
numbers should mean a more positive or more agreeing answer.
• The order in which the answer choices are presented can also affect the answers given. People tend to pick
the choices nearest the start of a list when they read the list themselves on paper. People tend to pick the
most recent answer when they hear a list of choices read to them.

5) Conduct interviews and enter data

6) Analyze the data


Data analysis is a bit tricky and students and teachers should do some background reading on analysing survey
data before attempting it. Some tips on tools for data presentation are provided below:

Unem ployed
14%
Pie charts
Good for showing how some whole amount 33%
of something is divided. For example how the Em ployed in
population of an area is divided into persons Form al Sector
who are unemployed, work in the formal sector
and work in the informal sector.
Em ployed in
53% the Inform al
Sector

!
Bar Graphs
Good for comparing discrete non-continuous
data. For example, comparisons among people
who agree, disagree or have no opinion that a
road should be constructed through the Aripo
Savannas.

Histograms
Histograms are used for comparing discrete
continuous data. For example comparisons
among the number persons of different ages
that have visited the Buccoo Reef.

Line Graphs
A line graph is used to show trends in data.
For example, over 10 years rainfall increased
in the Vassar watershed.

!
Sampling Methodologies
The aim of this section is to describe some of the methodologies for undertaking fieldwork at the upper second-
ary school level. Also included in this section are some tips for field and laboratory work which go a long way
to ensuring the success of the study.

Good Field and Laboratory Practices


Field practices
• Label all samples and sample bottles.
• When sampling in aquatic environments, do not sample too close to the shoreline because dislodged
sediments may affect both data and results; samples obtained from deeper waters where fewer sediments are
encountered are preferred.
• Samples should be taken in duplicate in case of any errors encountered during the sampling procedure
• Some samples should be kept in an ice-packed cooler to avoid bacterial growth.
• Samples should be processed within fifteen minutes after removal from the field, if there is no equipment
present to conduct the relevant tests. Generally, samples can be used within twenty four hours of sampling if
they are stored under refrigerated conditions.
• Gloves should be worn at all times to avoid body oils from contaminating samples and equipment.

Sample
Bottles

Laboratory Practices
• Always wear proper laboratory attire when conducting experiments.
• Sterilize lab stations before any work is conducted.
• Sterilize equipment.
• Calibrate electronic or battery powered equipment before it is used to avoid inaccurate readings.
• Turn off gas after use.
• Dispose of hazardous liquids in a wastewater system and solid substances in a clearly marked hazard
disposal bag.
• Sanitize stations after work is complete.
• Wash hands after experiments are conducted.
General Plot and Transect Sampling Notes
Quadrats
Quadrats are used to define sample areas within a study site. “Quadrat” also refers to a square or rectangular
marker made out of any material such as wood, metal or rigid plastic. For large areas a tape measure can be
used to define the boundaries of the quadrat. The type and size of quadrat used depends on the objectives of the
study, as well as what is being sampled. Rectangular quadrats have been found to yield better results for sam-
pling vegetation than other shapes. The following quadrat areas are suggested:
• For closely spaced herbaceous vegetation – 1 (m2).
• For bushes, shrubs and saplings up to 3 or 4 m tall – 10 (m2)
• For forest trees over 3 or 4m – 100 (m2)
For sampling soil macroinvertebrates or benthic invertebrates in a stream, a square quadrat with area of 0.1 m2
can be used.
Quadrats are used for both plot and transect sampling.

Quadrat
Sample

Plot sampling
In sampling, an area - referred to as a plot - of known size, is used to identify, count and measure all individuals
within it. Plot sampling is most widely used for land plants, but may also be used for sampling relatively ses-
sile or slow-moving animals; benthos in aquatic environments; and animal burrows, nests or hills. Quadrats can
be used for sampling within plots particularly when plots are large and resources are not available for identify-
ing, counting or measuring all individuals within the plot. Here, estimation is used to determine the number of
individuals in the plot. The location of quadrats within the plot can be determined by a systematic method such
as a grid or by standard random procedure. For random plot sampling, the centre of the plot can be determined
by tossing a stick over your shoulder and using where the stick lands as the centre of the plot, or using a random
set of coordinates to define plot boundaries. Plot sampling is used in the methodology for Measuring Ecosystem
Diversity using a Species Area Curve. (Brower et al. 1998)

Transect sampling
Transects are lines along which populations can be sampled. They are used mainly for sampling contiguous
stages of ecological succession, or for surveying changes in vegetation along an environmental gradient or
through different habitats. Three commonly used transect methods are belt transect, line intercept, and gradsect
or gradient directed transect. Transect sampling is advantageous over plot sampling for sparse or large and
distinct vegetation. One way that quadrats can be used for sampling along a transect is shown below.

Figure 1: Quadrat sampling along a line transect


Measuring Ecosystem Diversity using a Species Area Curve
Adapted from Oatham (2006)

Diversity in communities can be considered in terms of numbers of species or other taxonomic categories, for
example, species diversity. There are two main constraints to describing the diversity of communities. First, the
sample from the community must be large enough to represent the community adequately. This means that large
numbers of samples must be taken. The second constraint is the time and other resources needed to take these
samples. Generally, as sample size increases, the study becomes more expensive in terms of time and resources
and these are usually limited in availability. One of the main methods to determine a balance between these two
constraints is a species-area curve.
A species-area curve is derived by sampling a larger and larger area of the community until no new species are
added to a cumulative species list (Figure 2). When no new species are encountered in new quadrats, the cumu-
lative number of species remains the same for a further increase in sampling area. This is taken as the optimum
sample size (in terms of area) for sampling this community.

Figure 2: Species-area curve

Materials
• Three to six 0.25m2 or 0.5m2 quadrats
• Measuring tape
• Magnifying glass

Field methods
1. Identify similar sites of vegetation at the sample site.
2. The arrangement of quadrats outlined in Figure 3
is not fixed and can be extended or reduced according
to the size of class, or the required sample effort.

Figure 3: Arrangement of sampling quadrats


3. Using a 0.5m2 quadrat, lay the measuring tape down for a length of 2.0 m, and locate along this the first four
quadrats at the top of the sampling area. Mark the corners of the quadrats 1 to 4 and move the quadrats
along to the new positions for the second set of samples (5 to 8). When these are completed, the other eight
quadrats can be set up in a similar fashion so that they are all contiguous.

4. For each quadrat, identify each species by giving it a letter name (AA, AD, BB, etc.). Use the magnifying
glass to identify minute features on plants. Draw up a list of letter names and a rough sketch and description
of identifying features, for example: hairy grass, short herb with purple flowers. For each quadrat, note the
presence of each of these species and the quadrat number.

Data analysis
1. Using the quadrat label from Figure 3, randomly select one of your quadrats and note which species are
present and count them.
2. Randomly select another quadrat and count the number of species that occur in this second quadrat that did
not occur in the first. Add these to the number of species in the first quadrat for a cumulative total for both
quadrats.
3. Calculate the cumulative number of species for three quadrats using step 2 and repeat until all sixteen
quadrats have been analysed. Construct a table of number of quadrats and the cumulative number of species.
The total number of species is the species richness.
4. Plot a line graph of cumulative number of species (y-axis) against numbers of quadrats (x-axis).
5. Identify the minimum number of quadrats required for deriving a species-area curve.

Estimating Habitat Area using the Grid Overlay Method


(Adapted from Field and Laboratory Methods for General Ecology)

Materials
• Map of area
• Grid (can be drawn on tracing paper)
• Ruler

Method
1. Determine the scale of the map or the aerial photo to be used. The scale is usually printed on the map or
photograph in a ratio. For example 1:24,000 as a map scale means that every one metre or foot on the map
represents 24,000 metres or feet on the earth’s surface. Some smaller maps have their scales in units of
centimetres.
2. Reduce the scale to a smaller unit of measurement if it is too large. It may be difficult to use the grid overlay
when working in metres, this can be reduced to centimetres.
3. Create a sketch map of the area to be measured.
4. Superimpose a grid onto the map, for which the area of each square is known. If each square is 2cm x 2cm
on the map then on the earth’s surface, the squares would represent an area of 48,000cm X 48,000cm or
230,400 m2.

5. To estimate the total area, count the number of


squares that overlay the area – including partially
overlaid squares – and multiply this total number
by the area of each square.

Figure 4: Grid Overlay


Estimating Slope Angle and Gradient
Adapted from Field and Laboratory Methods for General Ecology

The gradient of a slope between two points may be expressed as the difference in elevation (h) relative to the
horizontal distance (d) between the two points. For example the gradient of a slope may be expressed as 1m per
3m, or as a percentage (33%). A simple method for determining the gradient of a slope is outlined below.

Materials:
• Straight stick
• Metre rule or measuring tape
• Trigonometrical tables or scientific calculator

Method:
1. The observer stands at the lower point of the slope, and the
subject (a person in this case) is situated at the upper point
of the slope. The arrangement shown in Figure 5 shows
how the method for estimating height is applied to
measuring the height of a flagpole.
2. The observer holds a straight stick at eye level away from
the body.
3. Measure the perpendicular distance along the line of sight
from the eye to the stick, and record as d’.
4. The observer sights up the slope to the top of the person’s
head. The distance along this line of sight from the eye to
the stick is measured and recorded as h’. Figure 5: Estimating the height of an object
5. The gradient of the slope can be found by h’/d’. on a slope [Source: Brower et al. (1998)]
6. The angle of the slope is the tangent of h’/d’.

Soil Texture

Soil texture refers to the percentage by weight of sand, silt and clay in a soil sample. The soil texture class is
determined by the ratio of different soil particles (sand, silt or clay) in a soil sample. These classes include clay,
silt and sand, and various combinations of these such as sandy clay, or silty loam. Some soil texture classifica-
tions also include material greater than 2mm in diameter, and these soils are categorised as gravely or stony.
Because several soil classifications exist, the texture of a soil sample may differ according to the classification
used. One of the most commonly used soil texture classifications is the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA) system.
Table 1: Fractions of soil particles based on diameter

A method for determining the texture of a soil sample is outlined below.

Qualitative “feel” method

Method:
1. Place about 25 grams of soil in the palm of your hand. Add water drops to the soil and start kneading to
break up aggregates. Stop adding water when the soil is moldable.
2. Shape the soil into a ball:
- If it does not form a ball, it is predominantly sand.
- If it forms a ball, go to 3.
3. Hold the ball of soil between the thumb and forefingers, pushing and squeezing to form the ball into a
ribbon:
- If the soil does not form a ribbon, it is loamy sand, silt loam or coarse silt loam.
- If the soil forms a ribbon of length 2.5cm before breaking, go on to 4.
- If the soil forms a ribbon of length 2.5 - 5.0 cm before breaking, go on 5.
- If the soil forms a ribbon longer than 5 cm before breaking, go on to 6.
4. Wet and rub the ribbon with the forefingers:
- If the soil feels gritty, it is sandy loam; if it is very smooth with no grit at all, it is silt.
- If it feels smooth with only a little bit of grittiness, it is silt loam, and if neither grittiness nor
smoothness predominates, then it is loam.
5. Wet and rub the ribbon with the forefingers:
- If the soil feels gritty, it is sandy clay loam.
- If there is no grit and it feels smooth, it is silty clay loam.
- If neither grittiness nor smoothness predominates, the soil is a clay loam.
6. Wet and rub the ribbon with the forefingers:
- If the soil feels gritty it is a sandy clay.
- If it feels smooth then it is a silty clay.
- If it is neither predominantly smooth nor gritty it is a clay.

Considerations
• The methodology outlined is not very precise and is most useful in the field, or for preliminary
measurements. For a more precise analysis of soil texture, a method of sieving the soil and weighing the soil
fractions may be used.
• Soil texture using this kind of analysis varies from person to person as a function of tactile stimulation.

Sampling tip
• Repeated measurements by different persons can increase the accuracy of the measurements.
Estimating Stream Depth, Stream Velocity and Stream Flow
Adapted from IOWATER: Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring

Figure 6: Cross-sectional view of a stream.


Materials
• A length of calibrated rope with weight at the end
• Stopwatch

Abbreviations
SD = stream depth (metres; SD1 is the stream depth at spot 1)
1, 2, etc = spots along the stream transect
n = number of spots along the transect
W = width of box at each spot; 1 metre is used
SV = stream velocity (1 metre divided by seconds measured; metres per second)
* = multiplier
/ = divider
Average Stream Depth (metre)
Average Stream Depth = [SD1 + SD2 + SDn ] / n

NOTE: The calibrated rope can be used to measure stream depth at each spot.
Be sure to convert the measurement from centimetres to metres.

Total Flow (cubic metres per second or m3/s)


For total flow, imagine a box placed around each spot on your stream transect. A flow is determined for each
box and summed for all boxes. Flow associated with each box is calculated by multiplying the width of the box
at each spot (1 metre) by stream depth (which you measure) by the velocity of the spot (in the field you measure
the number of seconds it takes for the tennis ball to travel one metre; velocity is one metre divided by the num-
ber of seconds). The flow of each box is given in cubic metres per second (m3/s). The flow of each box is added
to give total flow.
Total Flow = (W1*SD1*SV1) + (W2*SD2*SV2) + (Wn *SDn *SVn )

Average Stream Velocity (metres per second or m/s)


Average stream velocity is calculated by dividing total flow by the cross-sectional area of your transect.
The cross-sectional area is determined by calculating a cross-sectional area for the box at each spot of your
transect and then summing the cross-sectional areas.

Average Stream Velocity = Total Flow / [(W1*SD1) + (W2*SD2) + (Wn *SDn )]


Considerations
Stream velocity is influenced by:
• the slope of the surrounding terrain
• the depth of the stream
• the width of the stream
• the roughness of the substrate or stream bottom

The method for measuring stream velocity does not consider acceleration, and should only be used for short,
straight sections of a stream.

Measuring Turbidity of a Water Body


Adapted from Field and Laboratory Methods for General Ecology and Microbial Life: Educational Resources

Turbidity is a physical property of water that affects its light transparency. As turbidity increases the ability
of light to transmit through a water body decreases. In natural water bodies turbidity is affected by dissolved
chemicals; suspended particles such as clay, silt and organic matter; and density of micro organisms such as
plankton. Determining turbidity is important particularly in deep water environments where light penetration is
inhibited by depth, and where photosynthetic plants are affected by light penetration. Several methods exist for
measuring turbidity; the one described below is subjective and as such the accuracy is not very high. However,
this method is adequate for preliminary analysis of turbidity of water.

The Secchi Disk Turbidity Method


The Secchi disk works as a contrast instrument.
It disappears when the human eye can no longer
see it, meaning that there no longer remains any
contrast between the disk and its background.

Materials
• A disk with dimensions: 20cm diametre and
6mm thickness (The disk can be made of plexiglass,
hard plastic, PVC or any kind of material that is rigid.)
• Metal disk or metal ring that can weigh down the disk
• Eyebolt with nuts and washers
• A length of calibrated rope
• Black and white paint

Method
Making a Secchi Disk
1. Divide the disk into equal quadrants, and paint the quadrants alternating black and white.
2. Attach the metal disk or ring to the unpainted side of the Secchi disk using the eyebolt, nuts and washers.
3. Attach the rope to the eyebolt.

Sampling
1. Slowly lower the Secchi disk into the water until it is no longer visible, and record the depth from the
surface of the water to the disk. As far as possible sampling should not occur in direct sunlight.
2. Slowly raise the Secchi disk until it is visible again. Record the depth from the surface of the water to the
disk.
3. Take the average of the two recorded depths as the Secchi disk reading.
4. Turbidity is measured as the depth of visibility of the Secchi disk. Generally, where the depth of visibility is
greater, turbidity tends to be lower, and the opposite applies.
Considerations
• The depth of visibility for the Secchi disk is dependent on external factors such as sunlight intensity and
waves. These are highly variable, and therefore, as many readings as possible should be taken to increase
precision of the measurements.
• The depth of visibility for the Secchi disk varies from person to person as a function of vision.

Sampling Tips
• Repeated measurements by multiple observers can increase the accuracy of the measurements.
• For marine environments all-white Secchi disks are best, as the background colour of marine environments
tends to be black.
• For freshwater environments alternating black and white quadrant Secchi disks are best, as the black
quadrants provide a constant background thus standardizing the contrast.

Measuring Total Suspended Solids of a Water Sample


Total suspended solids (TSS) are a measure of the amount of suspended material in a sample of water. Suspend-
ed materials include particles that are light in weight such as pollen grains; particles that are relatively small in
size; and particles that have a large surface area relative to their weight such as clay.
TSS and turbidity are related: as TSS increases, turbidity generally increases. TSS can be estimated from mea-
surements of turbidity or transparency. However, a more accurate measurement of TSS involves weighing the
suspended solids in a sample of water. A method for this is outlined below.

Materials
• Vacuum pump and manifold
• Desiccator and desiccant that contains a colour indicator for moisture content
• Drying oven for use between 103°C and 105°C
• Analytical balance or electronic scale capable of weighing to 0.1 mg
• Heat-resistant tongs or tweezers
• 2 μm filter paper
• Aluminium dish or glass Petri dishes
• 100 mL glass graduated cylinder
• 100 mL conical flask
• 250 mL sample bottle

Field work
1. Remove the stopper (bottle cork) and rinse the sample bottle with distilled water.
2. Submerge the sample bottle beneath the surface of the water and tilt so that water flows into it.
3. Cover bottle and store sample in a refrigerator for a maximum of seven days before laboratory analysis.

Laboratory analysis
1. Place filter paper in dessicator to remove excessive moisture. When the colour indicator shows that the
paper is dry, remove from the dessicator and weigh on the analytical balance. Record the weight as A in mg.
Use tongs or tweezers to transfer when handling the filter paper as bare fingers may transfer oils and
moisture from the skin.
2. Place filter paper on the vacuum manifold. Wet the filter with deionized water in order to seat the filter in
the vacuum manifold. Turn on the vacuum. If there is a hole in the filter, you may hear an abnormal hissing
or whistling.
3. Thoroughly mix the sample to be analyzed by shaking vigorously. Carefully measure 100ml of the water
sample using a graduated cylinder.
1 2

! !
3 4

! !
Figure 7: Assembly of vacuum pump filtration system Source: Cooke (2009)

4. Assemble the conical flask as shown in Figure 7. Pour water from the graduated cylinder into the beaker
that is attached to the conical flask. Turn on the vacuum.
5. Allow the vacuum to continue until all of the water has been filtered.
6. Alternatively, where a vacuum pump assembly is not available, the water sample can be left to filter on its
own using gravity to pull the water down. Although this method takes more time, it is as effective as using
the vacuum pump.
7. Place the filter paper into the aluminium or Petri dish in the oven to dry for 48 hours at 103° C.
8. After drying in the oven, transfer the filter paper to a desiccator to cool. When the filter paper has cooled
sufficiently, weigh the dried and cooled filter paper on the analytical balance. Record the weight as B in mg.
9. Use the following calculation to determine the weight of solids per litre of the water sample:

where:
B = weight of filter + dried residue, mg, and
A = weight of filter, mg
Estimating Plankton by Mass of a Water Sample
Plankton are floating microscopic plants (e.g. phytoplankton) and animals (e.g. zooplankton) that live in ma-
rine, estuarine or fresh water. Phytoplankton is photosynthetic and is a primary producer, it forms the basis of
aquatic food webs. Phytoplankton depends on sunlight and nutrients to grow and is found in – but not restricted
to - shallow waters. Because human activities can affect the availability of plankton, it is important to assess the
impacts of our activities on plankton populations. One way of measuring plankton populations is by estimating
the mass of plankton per unit of water.

Materials
• 250 ml sample bottle
• Fine mesh net (e.g. 80μm)
• Nylon string
• Rubber band
• Stiff wire
• Vacuum pump and manifold
• Desiccator and desiccant that contains a colour indicator for moisture content
• Drying oven for use at between 103° and 105° C
• Analytical balance or electronic scale capable of weighing to 0.1 mg
• Heat-resistant tongs
• 2 μm filter paper
• Aluminium dish or glass Petri dishes
• 100 mL glass graduated cylinder
• 100 mL conical flask

Method
Making the plankton tow net
1. Bend the wire into a circle. The diametre of the circle
will depend on how big you want the plankton tow
net to be.
2. Attach the mesh to the circular frame.
3. Attach the other end of the mesh to the sample
bottle and use a rubber band to secure the
mesh around the neck of the sample bottle.
Figure 8: A Plankton tow net
!
4. Attach the nylon string to the top of the circular frame. Adapted from Sutherland (1996)
Field work Sampling tips
1. Remove the stopper (bottle cork) and rinse • Shallow streams are unlikely to have a plankton
the sample bottle with distilled water. community. Use shallow pond instead.
2. Assemble the plankton tow net.
3. Submerge the net below the surface keeping
the open end against the current and drag the
plankton tow net using the nylon string or keep
it fixed. The plankton tow net directs the Additional methods for sampling aquatic organisms
plankton in the water into the sample bottle. are available from Ecological Census Techniques:
4. Remove the sample bottle from the net assemblage, A handbook.
cover bottle and store sample in a refrigerator for a
maximum of seven days before laboratory analysis.
See laboratory analysis for total suspended solids.
Sampling Benthic Invertebrates
The majority of invertebrates in rivers and streams are found amongst the stones and gravel on the stream bed.
One of the methods used for obtaining a sample of these benthic invertebrates is kick sampling. Kick sampling
involves dislodging invertebrates in the river or stream bed by kicking and disturbing the substrate and catch-
ing the dislodged invertebrates in a net held a short distance downstream. The net can be made with two broom
handles and 1m square mesh material.
Considerations
• This method is biased against heavy species which are unlikely to be carried by the water and caught in the net.
• The method under estimates, for example, species firmly attached to stones and boulders.
Measuring Dissolved Oxygen of a Water Sample
Dissolved oxygen (DO) levels can be determined using a variety of tests. AccuVac checks, electronic monitor-
ing and drip titration are just a few of the methods available. Most tests involve a colourmetric change.
The method described below uses the Winkler drop titration method.
Materials
• Hach test kit including DO reagents and powdered pillows
• Sample bottle
• A pair of clippers

Field work
1. Remove the stopper (bottle cork) and rinse the sample bottle with water to be sampled and empty the bottle.
2. Submerge the sample bottle beneath the surface of the water and tilt so that water flows into it. Keep the
bottle tilted and submerged for two to three minutes to ensure that air is not trapped in the bottle.
3. Replace the stopper quickly while ensuring that you do not trap any air bubbles. The best way to do this is to
place the sample bottle on a level, flat surface and then carefully drop the stopper into place.
4. Store bottle in a refrigerator for a maximum of twenty four hours before laboratory analysis. However,
laboratory analysis should be undertaken as soon as possible to avoid contaminating the sample with oxygen.
5. Avoid shaking or agitating the sample because this can produce excess air bubbles.
Laboratory work
6. The instructions for determining the DO levels of the sample are provided with the Hach test kit.

Measuring Nitrate Levels of a Water Sample


Nitrates can be tested for in a variety of ways. Most tests involve a colourmetric change. Some kits measure this
change through electronic means, others use a simple colour wheel comparator. Testing procedures vary for different
levels of nitrates. The following method uses the Hach test kit to determine nitrate levels in a water sample.
Materials
• Hach test kit including NitraVer 5 Nitrate reagent
• Sample bottle
• A pair of clippers
Fieldwork
1. Remove the stopper (bottle cork) and rinse the sample bottle with distilled water.
2. Submerge the sample bottle beneath the surface of the water and tilt so that water flows into it.
3. Replace the stopper and store bottle in a refrigerator for a maximum of twenty four hours before laboratory
analysis.
Laboratory work
4. The instructions for determining the nitrate levels of the sample are provided with the Hach test kit.
Measuring Phosphate Levels of a Water Sample
Phosphates can be tested for in a variety of ways. Most tests involve a colourmetric change. Some kits measure
this change through electronic means, others use a simple colour wheel comparator. The following method uses
the Hach test kit to determine phosphate levels in a water sample.

Materials
• Hach test kit including PhosVer 3 reagent
• Sample bottle
• A pair of clippers

Fieldwork
1. Remove the stopper (bottle cork) and rinse the sample bottle with distilled water.
2. Submerge the sample bottle beneath the surface of the water and tilt so that water flows into it.
3. Replace the stopper, and store bottle in a refrigerator for a maximum of 24 hours before laboratory analysis.

Laboratory work
4. The instructions for determining the phosphate levels of the sample are provided with the Hach test kit.

Estimating pH Values of a Water Sample


The number of hydrogen ions (H+) in a solution is expressed as a pH measure. If a solution has more H+ ions
than OH− (hydroxyl) ions the solution is acidic, and if it has less H+ than OH− ions then it is alkaline. The pH
scale of measurement ranges from 1 to 14, tells us if a solution is acidic (closer to pH 1), alkaline (closer to pH
14), or neutral (pH 7).
The pH of a water body is usually measured using a pH pen or a pH probe. One of the commonly used pH
probes is the YSI 63 probe. Both the pH pen and pH probe generate pH readings automatically once turned on,
calibrated and inserted into a solution. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to calibrate the specific meter and
take readings.

Measuring Faecal Coliform Levels of a Water Sample (Filtration Method)


Listed below are sources and reference materials which can be used to identify the presence of faecal coliform
bacteria within a water sample using the filtration method.

• Hach Water Analysis Handbook –


http://www.hach.com/fmmimghach?/CODE%3ABACTERIA_MF_COLIFORM7529%7C1

• Pathfinder Science –
http://pathfinderscience.net/stream/cproto4.cfm

• American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation,
Lenore S. Clesceri, Arnold E. Greenberg, Andrew D. Eaton, and Mary Ann H. Franson. 1998.
Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. Washington, DC: American Public Health
Association.
Bird Counts
Table 2: Some methods for bird counts

Source: Sutherland (1996)


Bibliography
Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of Brower, James E. Jerrold H. Zar, Carl N. von Ende.
the Przewalski Horse (FPPPH). 1998. Field and Laboratory Methods for General
Sustainability of the conservation of takhi in Hustai Ecology. Boston, US: WCB/McGraw-Hill
National Park.
http://www.treemail.nl/takh/future/swot.htm Carlson, R.E. 1995. The Secchi disk and the volun-
(accessed June 17, 2009). teer monitor. LakeLine. 15(1): 28-29, 35-37.

Carlson, R.E. and J. Simpson. 1996. A Coordina-


Creative Research Systems. 2009. tor’s Guide to Volunteer Lake Monitoring Methods.
How to Begin your Survey Design Project. North American Lake Management Society. 96 pp.
http://www.surveysystem.com/sdesign.
htm#methods Carlson, R.E. 1997. The Secchi disk in black and
(accessed June 26, 2009). white. LakeLine. 17: 14-15, 58-59.

Cooke, Rosa-lee. 2009. Total Suspended Solids


Ramakrishnappa, Kamalappa. 2003. (TSS). Water/ Wastewater Distance Learning.
Impact of Cultivation and Gathering of Medicinal http://water.me.vccs.edu/courses/ENV211/tssb.htm
Plants on Biodiversity: Case Studies from India. (accessed June 16, 2009).
Biotechnology Centre, Bangalore, India. Case Study
No. 8. IOWATER Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring.
http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/Y4586E/ (undated). How to Calculate Average Stream Depth,
y4586e09.htm Average Stream Velocity, and Stream Flow.
(accessed June 17, 2009). http://www.iowater.net/CurrentVolunteers/Calcula-
tions.htm
(accessed June 16, 2009).
Scientific Community on Problems of the Environ-
ment (SCOPE). 1975. Loftus, Tim. 2003. pH Analysis. Lagoon Systems in
Environmental Impact Assessment: What are avail- Maine
http://www.lagoonsonline.com/laboratory-articles/
able methods?
ph.htm
UNESCO-SCOPE-UNEP. (accessed June 15, 2009).
http://www.icsu-scope.org/downloadpubs/scope5/
chapter04.html
(accessed June 17, 2009). Oatham, Michael, 2006. Measuring Species Rich-
ness of Plants on the Aripo Savannas. Field Manual.
Dept. of Life Sciences, The University of the West
Bledzki, Leszek A. 2008. Secchi Disk. The Ency- Indies.
clopaedia of the Earth.
http://www.eoearth.org/article/Secchi_disk Sutherland, William J. 1996. Ecological Census
(accessed May 08, 2009). Techniques: A Handbook. United Kingdom:
Cambridge University Press.
Bruckner, Monica Z. 2009. Measuring Lake Turbid-
ity Using a Secchi Disk. Montana State University.
http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/research_meth-
ods/environ_sampling/turbidity.html
(June 15, 2009).
THE CROPPER FOUNDATION

Av
Arima valley
In this case study:
Section 1
In this section:
• Northern Range watershed area: contribution to Trinidad’s freshwater resources
• Ecosystems: forests, freshwater and biodiversity

In 1952 William Beebe undertook a study on the Arima Valley . His studies yielded very important information
on the ecology and ecosystems in the area, and are still extensively used in work on the Arima Valley.1
Many of the descriptions provided in the sections on Location and Topography, Climate, Vegetation,
and Fauna, are drawn from this study.

Location & Topography


The Arima Valley lies parallel and midway between approximately fifteen valleys that transect the southern side
of the Northern Range. All of these valleys are oriented north-south. The Arima Valley is located north of the
town of Arima, and extends from the foothills of the Northern Range to the ridge of the Northern Range for a
distance of about 8.45km along the ground. More specifically, the Valley is located between 10o37’ and 10o43’
N latitude and 61o16’ and 61o18’ W longitude. The Valley rises to a height of about 840m, with steep hillside
gradients of 1:3 in some areas.

! !

!"#$!%&!''()%
!

Figure
! 1: Map of Arima Valley Source: Ordnance Survey (1930)

1
William Beebe, “ Introduction to the Ecology of the Arima Valley”, Zoologica 37 (1952)
Climate
Rainfall
Rainfall in the Arima Valley is influenced by two distinct seasons: the wet season (from June to December) and
the dry season (from January to May). The pattern of the wet and dry seasons is determined by the movement
of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) – a global weather system that influences the climate of many
areas. The average annual rainfall ranges between 2000 and 2400mm. Approximately 70% to 80% of all
precipitation occurs in the rainy season, with a major contribution of this from the ITCZ. 2

Orographic rainfall generated from the upward movement of the Northeast Trade Winds on contact with the
Northern Range also contributes to rainfall in the Valley, and is more significant in the dry season.

!"#$!%
&!''()%
!

!Figure 2: Isohyetal Map of the Northern Region of Trinidad Source: Piarco Meterological Office
(unpublished; pers comm.. 2004) in NRA (2005)

Temperature
Temperature varies along the valley, usually decreasing from the valley bottom to the top of the valley.
This temperature change is caused by adiabatic cooling due to the differences in elevation of the land.
Temperature in the Valley averages between 18 – 30oC but can fall as low as 17 oC at higher elevations
in the Valley.

Humidity and Winds


Humidity in the Arima Valley also varies with a direct relationship to temperature. Humidity in the Valley
is usually in the upper 70s or lower 80s. The prevailing winds are the Northeast Trades, which generally
blow in a south-west direction. Note that winds are named after the direction from which they blow.

EMA, “State of the Environment Report”, 1998.


Geology & Soils
The formation of the Andean mountain chain occurred in the middle of the Miocene period.3 The tectonic
forces building the Andean mountain chain were also influencing the northern part of Trinidad. Trinidad became
highly disturbed by the compressional and tangential tectonic movements, leading to the formation of all types
of structures including simple anticlinal mountains like those of the Northern Range. 4 Two geological rock
formations are found in the Arima Valley: the Mayaro formation and the Maracas formation. The rocks that
make up these formations are comprised of quartzites, hard massive limestones, marbles, schists, sandstones,
sands and clays. 5 The hard massive limestones are extensively mined in the Arima Valley, and several other
valleys of the Northern Range. 6

!"#$!%
&!''() %

Source: Brown and Bally (1966) in NRA (2005)


! Figure 3: Geology of the Northern Range
The soil type varies within the Valley because of differences in parent materials and situation in the Valley.
The Diego Martin soil series overlies much of the steeper areas of the Arima Valley. 7 These soils are coarse,
loamy and carbonatic with good internal drainage. Erosion is a potential problem with these soils, primarily
because of the steep slopes on which they are situated. The soils in the valley bottom comprise colluvial and
alluvial deposits and are also freely drained. These soils tend to be quite fertile and are good for agriculture.

3
A.G.A. Sutton, “Report on the general geology of Trinidad to accompany Geological map”, (Trinidad: Government Printing Office, 1955).
4
Ibid
5
Hans G. Kugler, “Treatise on the Geology of Trinidad Part 4: The Paleocene to Holocene Formations”, H.M. Bolli and M. Knappertsbusch, (Basel: The Museum of
Natural History).
6
NRA, “Report of an Assessment of the Northern Range, Trinidad and Tobago”, Environmental Management Authority 2005.
7
Ibid
Drainage Area & Water Resources
The Arima Valley is part of the larger Western Peninsula Caroni watershed, but forms a watershed or catchment
area of its own. The Arima River flows through the Arima Valley, and drains the majority of the water captured
in the Arima Valley catchment southwards into the Caroni River. The Arima River also contributes to water
recharge in the Northern Range.
!

!"#$!%
&!''()%
!

Figure 4: Northern Range Major Water-catchment areas Source: NRA (2005)

Figure 5: Arima Valley

On its way to the Caroni River, the Arima River flows over and recharges the Arima Gravels aquifer located
along the southern foot of the Northern Range. The Arima Gravels aquifer is a part of the larger Northern
Gravels aquifer.
The Northern Gravels is a major aquifer in the Northern
Range, and consists of wedge-shaped alluvial deposits and
gravel fans along the southern foot of the Northern Range.
These extend from east Port of Spain to approximately three
8
EMA 1998 kilometres east and southward to the Caroni Plains. 8
The Arima River and other surface rivers in the Northern Range have been identified as major sources
of water for human use.9 Of the surface water exploited in Trinidad and Tobago by the Water and Sewage
Authority (WASA), 80% originates within the Northern Range. 10 However the water quality in many of the
rivers in the Northern Range – including the Arima River - is being degraded. The water quality of the Arima
River has declined since the 1970s due to the impacts of pollution.11

Some existing and potential sources of pollution to the Arima River:


Domestic refuse - includes garbage and leachates from solid waste disposal sites
Domestic sewage - includes seepage from cesspools and pit latrines
Farm wastes - waste water from animal farms, runoff of fertilisers and pesticides
Industrial effluents including wash waters from quarries12
Currently, water is not extracted directly from the Arima River by WASA for public consumption. However, the
Arima River contributes to the water that flows into the Caroni-Arena Water Treatment Plant which is
used for public consumption.13

Vegetation
Information for this section is drawn from William Beebe’s study in 1952. 14
A detailed classification of the vegetation of Arima Valley was done by J.S. Beard in 1946 and later by William
Beebe in 1952. Since then no such detailed classification has been undertaken and we still rely on data obtained
from their studies. This highlights a need for new studies of this kind particularly because the Northern Range
vegetation (mainly forests) harbour large stores of biodiversity, and also because these forests play a key role
in water recharge and freshwater provision. The Asa Wright Nature Centre (AWNC) continues to play a key
role in the conservation of existing forests in the Arima Valley: this will be discussed later when we look at
conservation efforts in the Arima Valley.
The vegetation in Arima Valley changes from the base of the valley to the top of valley as a result of
changing abiotic conditions like soil, temperature, rainfall and slope.
At the base of the valley on the foothills of the Northern Range, the vegetation type is secondary seasonal
evergreen forest comprising some prolific survivors of the original seasonal evergreen forest like cocorite palms.
This original forest is thought to have been a climax community. A list of trees found in the seasonal evergreen
forest formation is provided in Appendix A. Higher up the valley the vegetation transitions to a deciduous sea-
sonal forest. Lower montane forest occupies most of the valley northward of the deciduous seasonal forest. A
list of trees found in the lower montane forests in provided in Appendix A. On the highest slopes and ridges true
montane forest occurs in small areas.

Figure 6: Lower Montane Forest in Arima Valley


9
Ibid
10
NRA 2005
11
EMA 1998
12
Ibid
13
NRA 2005
14
Beebe 1952
Fauna
Information for this section is drawn from William Beebe’s study in 1952. 15

The forests and freshwater ecosystems found in the Arima Valley provide general and specialized habitats and
a variety of food sources, for the large diversity of fauna that it supports.

Fish found in the Arima River


Frogs and toads - 16 species of frogs and toads were recorded by Beebe.
Lacertian species - 15 of the known lacertilian species were recorded by Beebe.
Iguanas and Tegu lizards are common reptile species found in Arima Valley.
Snakes - of Trinidad’s 38 species of snakes, 27 had been found in the Arima Valley by Beebe.
Birds - 164 species of birds were observed by Beebe and 170 species noted by Garraway et al.16
Two common species observed at AWNC are manakins and wattled bell birds.
Thirteen species of hummingbirds have been recorded at AWNC. An oilbird colony lives in the Arima
Valley.

The nocturnal oil bird is the only nocturnal, fruit-eating bird in the world. It is found in northern parts of
South America and in Trinidad. The oil birds live in caves often in precarious steep cliffs. Several caves in
the Northern Range have colonies including in Dunston Cave in Arima Valley and Cumaca Caves.
Contributions have been made by the World Wildlife Fund for protection on the colony at AWNC.17

Mammals - Beebe recorded a large diversity of mammals in the Arima Valley. A list of these is provided in
Appendix A. No research or studies have been undertaken to determine if these species are still
present in the Arima Valley. However, Garraway et al notes that some of these species can be
observed at AWNC including ocelots, brocket deer, agouti, paca or lappe, and nine-banded
armadillo or tattoo.

Some of the activities currently occurring in the Valley have the potential to alter the forest and freshwater
ecosystems there and as a result may alter or destroy habitats. For example, the increased turbidity of the Arima
River as a result of upstream quarrying activities reduces the quality of the habitat of freshwater organisms.
Although AWNC protects large areas of the Arima Valley through its conservation efforts, some parts of the
Valley are still subject to some human activities and are potential threats to the fauna and flora in the Valley.
We will discuss conservation efforts in the Arima Valley in greater detail in the following sections.

15
Beebe 1952
16
Jasmin Garraway, Carol James and Howard Nelson, “Ecotourism as a Strategy for Sustainable Development: The Experience of the Asa Wright Centre Trinidad and
Tobago”, (UNDP Trinidad and Tobago, 1999).
17
AWNC, “Asa Wright Nature Centre” http://www.asawright.org/
Section 2
Topics covered in this section: :
• Conflicting human uses and impacts on ecosystem services
• Land-use planning as a management option

This section will focus on the varying types of land-use that occurs in the Arima Valley, and how the impacts
of these land uses on each other create challenges for management. This is only a glimpse into the issues that
surround land-use management.

Dr. Mary Alkins-Koo of the Life Sciences Department of the University of the West Indies developed
case studies for use in courses at the University. Among these was a case study on the Arima Valley.
Section 2 draws heavily on the information from this case study on Arima Valley. 18

Land Use
There are four main categories of land use activities occurring in the Arima Valley: residence or settlement;
quarrying; agriculture; and conservation/ research/ ecotourism/ recreation. In the following sub-sections, each
of these categories of land use is described. How these land use activities interact is explored in the final
sub-section.

Residence or Settlement
Residential settlement occurs mostly in the lower parts of the Arima Valley: from the town of Arima up to the
2 mile mark along the Arima-Blanchisseuse Road. Two other pockets of settlement occur at Temple Village and
Verdant Vale at the 4 mile mark and 4.5 mile mark respectively along the Arima-Blanchisseuse Road.
The majority of land in the Arima Valley is state-owned. When residential structures are built on state land
without the permission of the government, the housing structures are illegal and the residents are described as
“squatters”. In 1998 the government attempted to protect squatters on statelands through the passing of The
State Land (Regularisation of Tenure) Bill.

The State Land (Regularisation of Tenure) Bill, 1998 is an act of Parliament to protect squatters in
certain areas from ejection from state land through acquisition of a leasehold title by squatters.
The Arima Valley was not one of the areas originally designated for protection of squatters. However,
an amendment to the act provides the opportunity for squatters living outside the designated areas to
become regularised.

Small-scale farming also occurs alongside residences. These include chicken farms, as well as christophene
(Sechium edule) and banana cultivation. The runoff from these farms, can introduce mainly nutrients
and faecal coliform into the groundwater and Arima River. Pit latrines are also common in some of these
residences, and these also have the potential to pollute the groundwater and Arima River with faecal coliform.

18 Mary Alkins-Koo, “Case Study - Arima Valley”, (Dept. of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies, 2003-2007).
Agriculture
Agriculture in the Arima Valley occurs in the lower valley adjacent to residential settlements up to Verdant Vale
higher up in the Valley. Hillside slash-and-burn agriculture is practised in relatively small plots by small agricul-
tural-squatters. The major problem with this type of agriculture is that it weakens the slope stability making it
highly susceptible to wind and water erosion.
At the 6.5 mile mark along the Arima-Blanchisseuse Road, there is an extensive christophene farm.

Figure 7: Christophene farm in Arima Valley

The christophene is cultivated on steep slopes, and looks like a smooth green sheet covering the hills.
The precise area of the farm is not known, but aerial photos suggest that the cultivated area is expanding.19
Large quantities of manure are used for fertilising and conditioning the soil, erosion control appears to be non-
existent, and the Arima-Blanchisseuse Road is in danger of landslips in critical areas around the christophene
farm. Water for irrigation is drawn from a small adjacent tributary through a complex network of pipes which is
visible from the road. A number of problems may arise from this type of cultivation.
• Erosion of the hillside is possible with cultivation on such steep slopes. The lack of ground cover and
root networks that help to bind the soil may help to increase soil erosion. The problem is compounded
if the eroded material gets into the Arima River, increases the turbidity and decreases the overall water
quality of the river. Alternatively, the cover of the christophene plantation may act as a forest canopy,
and protect the soil from the rain splash erosion. Rain splash erosion is caused by the impact of
rainwater striking the soil surface, and dislodging soil particles.
• Misuse or overuse of fertilizers can introduce nutrients and pollutants to the groundwater and
subsequently to the Arima River.
• With such a large cultivation in the middle of what used to be lower montane forest, the problem of
habitat fragmentation arises. This can further lead to loss of biodiversity in the Arima Valley, particularly
for mammals.
Tree crop cultivation of cocoa was extensive in the past, but many estates are now abandoned. Some cultivation
of citrus and anthuriums still occurs

19
Garraway et al. 1999
Quarrying
There are three active quarries in the Verdant Vale area extracting limestone. In the section on Geology and
Soils, massive limestone was noted as one of the minerals comprising the rock formations underlying the Arima
Valley. This limestone exists in a band across the Northern Range: its quarrying is not limited to the Arima
Valley but takes place in other Northern Range valleys. The limestone is high quality blue limestone and is used
for road and building construction, and blue limestone products like paving tiles.

Figure 8: One of the quarries in Arima Valley

The quarrying process for limestone includes blasting to weaken the rock structure and to separate the mas-
sive limestone rock into blocks; and excavation of blocks from the rock face. Washing is not part of the quarry
production process in the Arima Valley so quarry effluents are not a major problem. However, there have been
several problems that may be linked. These include:
Noise and Vibrations – The AWNC is concerned that the noise associated with blasting activities at the quarry
may disturb the oilbird colony and other organisms located in the forests surrounding the AWNC. Residents
lower in the valley have complained that the vibrations from the blasting activities may be causing cracks in
their walls.
Dust – Dust from the quarries is particularly visible
on the vegetation that grows alongside the Arima-
Blanchisseuse Road. No studies have been done to
determine the effects of the quarry-dust on plants,
human well-being, or on the water quality of the
Arima River.

Quarry-floor runoff – During rainfall events runoff


from quarries enters the surface water sources in
the area and may decrease the water quality.

Figure 9: Dust from quarries on vegetation


Conservation, Research, Ecotourism, Recreation
The AWNC is responsible for major conservation efforts in the Arima Valley.

Figure 10: Ducks at Asa Wright Nature Centre

AWNC was first purchased by Joseph Holmas from the government in 1934, and resold to Dr. Newcome
Wright and his wife Asa in 1946. The William Beebe Tropical Research Station – run by Dr. William
Beebe – was also located in the Arima Valley in close proximity to the Wright property.
By the 1960s the Wrights were accommodating birdwatchers and naturalists who came to visit the
research station. In 1967, the property was sold and in that same year the Asa Wright Nature Centre was
established as a non-profit trust. With closure of the research station in 1970,
the research facility was handed over to AWNC as a gift in 1974.
AWNC’s overarching goal is natural resource conservation in the Arima Valley and other areas
of Trinidad and Tobago. AWNC has maintained its ability to accommodate visitors to the valley,
and is currently recognised as one of the best ecotourist lodges in the world.
One of its priority issues is conservation of the rare oilbird.

In 1995, the government leased 250 acres of forest reserve to AWNC, specifically for management of the forest
ecosystem of the lands surrounding AWNC. Through donations of land, the current area managed by AWNC is
735 acres. By channelling most of its efforts towards conservation and management of this forest ecosystem, the
AWNC has been successful at protecting a number of species of flora and fauna in the Arima Valley.
Conservation of the forest ecosystem also maintains the crucial services provided by forests which include
freshwater recharge, water purification and soil stability.

AWNC also manages the William Beebe Tropical Research Station at Simla, where numerous studies were
conducted on the natural history of Trinidad’s flora and fauna. Scientific groups use the station on a regular
basis for biological and ecological studies.
The Arima River is also extensively used for recreation. For example, Manette’s Ranch – at the 1.5 mile mark
along the Arima-Blanchisseuse Road – is used for picnics and other recreational activities. 20

Mary Alkins-Koo, “Environmental, Evaluation and Impact Assessment”, (Dept. of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies, 2007).
20
Land-Use Planning in The Arima Valley as a Management Option
One aspect of land-use planning involves coordinating different land-use activities to minimize conflicts
between these activities, and to reduce the impacts these activities may have on each other. A land-use manage-
ment plan acts as a guide. There are a number of factors which a land-use plan must incorporate. These include:

Land characteristics – these include soil type, drainage area, topography, area of land,
geology and vegetation.

Potential impacts of – these include both the positive and negative impacts of the activities on the land area.
activities Positive . Negative
may include the degradation of land by the activity.

Potential impacts of – Activities can have a positive, negative or neutral impact on each other.
activities on each other For example, where commercial activity is situated near to residences,
the commercial activity may provide employment for nearby residents, and the
residential area in turn may provide labour for the commercial area: that’s a positive
impact. If factories are situated near to residences, pollution from the factory may
cause people in nearby residences to become ill: that’s a negative impact.


It , to discuss
plan. Instead, we will look at one of the factors used to create a management plan: potential impacts of activities
on each other. Using the information from the above sections, we will create an activity-conflict matrix.
This matrix will help us to identify the impacts of various activities on each other. It can also help to prioritize
the impacts of activities, and think about the tradeoffs of reducing or stopping certain activities in favour of
others.

A tradeoff is a situation that involves losing one aspect of something in order to gain another aspect.
For example, the government may use a parcel of land – previously used for recreation activities -
to build houses. The tradeoff in this case is recreation for housing.
Using the matrix
• The vertical column of activities impacts on the horizontal row of activities, and impacts are not
interchangeable. For example, the impact of quarrying on agriculture is not the same as the impact of
agriculture on quarrying.
• The impacts can be described as high, medium or low, and positive or negative.
• The reason for the impact should be described.
• It is possible for multiple impacts of one activity on another, and these should be included in the matrix.
• After the matrix is complete the impacts should be prioritized to determine which is most important to
deal with with. Students should be encouraged to think of ways to reduce impacts according to priority.
Discussion Questions
Table 1: Some ecosystem services provided by the Arima Valley 21

Source: NRA (2005)


• How do any the activities – conservation, recreation, agriculture, residential settlement -
affect the services provided by the Arima Valley? (See Table 1)
• Do any of the ecosystem services provided by the Arima Valley have substitutes or alternatives?
• Is sustainable quarrying possible?
• How is noise considered a pollutant under these circumstances and what regulations exist to prevent
excessive impacts of noise?

Suggested Learning Activities


(See Generic Learning Activities)
• SWOT Analysis and Strategic Matrix
• Leopold Matrix
• Five Whys

Suggested Fieldwork
(See Sampling Methodologies)
• Slope Angle and Gradient
• Water quality testing – total suspended solids; turbidity;
phosphates; nitrates; faecal coliform; dissolved oxygen
• Stream depth, velocity and stream flow

21
NRA 2005.

Bibliography

Alkins-Koo, Mary. 2003-2007. Case Study – Arima Kugler, Hans G. 2001. Treatise on the Geology
Valley. BIOL 2461, Dept. Of Life Sciences, Univer- of Trinidad Part 4: The Paleocene to Holocen
sity of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Formations. Edited by H.M. Bolli and
Tobago. M. Knappertsbusch. Basel:
The Museum of Natural History.
Alkins-Koo, Mary. 2005. Ecological Assessment
and Human Impacts. BIOL 2461, Dept. Of Life Sci- Northern Range Assessment (NRA). 2005.
ences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Report of an Assessment of the Northern Range,
Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago: People and the Northern
Range. State of the Environment Report 2004.
Alkins-Koo, Mary. 2007. Environmental Evaluation Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad
& Impact Assessment. BIOL 2461, Dept. Of Life and Tobago. 184pp.
Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augus-
tine, Trinidad and Tobago. Northstone Ltd. Quarrying Process and Quarry
Products. http://www.northstone-ni.co.uk/about-
Anderson, Edric J. M. 1989. Real Estate us/education/quarrying-process-and-quarry-
Development in the Northern Range A developer’s products/
Viewpoint. The Ministry of Environment and
National Service, Trinidad and Tobago. Sutton, A.G.A. 1955. Report on the general geology
of Trinidad to accompany Geological map.
Asa Wright Nature Centre (AWNC). (undated) Trinidad: Government Printing Office.
Asa Wright Nature Centre.
http://www.asawright.org/ Ritter, Michael. E. 2006. The Physical Environ-
(Accessed March 16, 2009) ment: an Introduction to Physical Geography.
http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/ritter/geog101/
textbook/title_page.html
Beebe, William. 1952. Introduction to the Ecology
(Accessed March 27, 2009)
of the Arima Valley. Zoologica 37:157-183.

EMA. 1998. Trinidad and Tobago State of the The Cropper Foundation (TCF). 2009.
Environment Report 1998. Environmental Sustainable Development Terms and Concepts:
Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago. A Reference for Teachers and Students.
Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Garraway, Jasmin, Carol James and
Howard Nelson. 1999. Ecotourism as a Strategy for Trinidad and Tobago. Town and Country Planning
Sustainable Development: The Experience of the Division. 1982. The National Physical Development
Asa Wright Centre Trinidad and Tobago. UNDP, Plan Trinidad and Tobago. Volume 1 Survey and
Trinidad and Tobago. Analysis. Ministry of Finance and Planning.

Google Earth. 2009.


APPENDIX A: Flora and Fauna in Arima Valley
Table 1: List of Trees Found in the Seasonal Forest

Source: Beebe (1952)

Table 2: List of Trees Found in the Lower Montane Forest

Source: Beebe (1952)


Table 3: List of Animals Found in the Arima Valley

Source: Beebe (1952); Garraway et al (1999)

Note that these were undertaken by William Beebe in 1952 - it is possible that some
species no longer exist in the Valley while new ones may have been introduced.
APPENDIX B: Acronyms used in this case study

AWNC Asa Wright Nature Centre

EMA Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago

NRA Northern Range Assessment

WASA The Water and Sewage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago

WRA Water Resources Agency

APPENDIX B: Glossary of terms used in the case study

Adiabatic cooling When a parcel of air rises it expands as a result of reduced atmospheric pressure.
As it expands it cools at a rate of 0.65 oC decrease in temperature for every 100m rise
in elevation.
Alluvial deposits Sediment deposited by flowing water, as in a riverbed, flood plain, or delta.

Anticlinal Ridges formed by a convex curve, turn or fold of the existing strata.
mountains

Aquifer An underground bed or layer of earth, gravel, or porous stone that yields water.

Catchment area The area drained by a river or body of water.

Climax community When the vegetation of an area over time has reached a steady state and is composed
of species best adapted to the conditions of the area.

Colluvial deposits A loose deposit of rock debris accumulated through the action of gravity at the base
of a cliff or slope

Community An assemblage of species occurring the same space and/or time, and is often linked
(ecological) by biotic interactions such as competition or predation.

Deciduous This forest is typical of environments that are warm and receive high overall rainfall,
Seasonal Forest such as in the tropics. These forests are considered deciduous because the trees drop
their leaves during in the dry season.

Ecosystem services These are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. They include provisioning
services such as food and water; cultural services such as spiritual, recreational, and
cultural benefits; and regulating and supporting services such as flood and disease
control; nutrient cycling that maintain the conditions for life on Earth. The concept
of “ecosystem goods and services” is synonymous with ecosystem services.

Environmental The rate of decrease of temperature with elevation in the atmosphere.


lapse rate This rate is usually taken as 0.65 oC decrease in temperature for every 100m rise in
elevation.
Gravel fan A deposit of materials (mainly gravel) from a river at the base of a valley.
The gravel deposit spreads out from the base of the valley in a fan-like shape.

Lacertian Of or related to the suborder Lacertilia, which is a group of reptiles with overlapping
scales. This suborder includes lizards but not snakes.

Miocene 23.03 to 5.33 million years ago

Montane Forest Forest that grows on mountains and above an altitude of 1,006 metres.

Precipitation Any form of water, such as rain, snow, sleet, or hail, which falls to the earth’s surface.

Quartzites Hard metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted
into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression
between belts.

Orographic Rainfall resulting from the vertical movement of moist air that is enforced by a
rainfall mountain barrier in the air stream.

Rock formation A formation consists of a number of rock strata that have similar lithology or
properties.

Soil series A family of soils having similar profiles, and developing from similar original
materials under the influence of similar climate and vegetation.

Strata The layers or beds found in sedimentary rock. Also refers to the different height
(stratum sing.) groupings of trees in a forest.

Tectonic forces Forces which cause deformation or structural changes of the earth’s crust.
These forces may originate from igneous activity or from movement of the plates that
comprise the earth’s crust.

Watershed An area of land that catches precipitation and drains or seeps into a marsh, river,
stream, lake or groundwater.
THE CROPPER FOUNDATION

As
Aripo savanna
In this case study:
The Aripo Savannas
The Aripo Savannas are a natural savanna ecosystem situated between the Northern and Central Ranges in
Trinidad. In August 2007, the Aripo Savannas and some of the surrounding forest ecosystems were given
the designation of Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) under the ESA Rules 2001.
The Aripo Savannas Environmentally Sensitive Area (ASESA) includes - in addition to the savanna ecosystems
- marsh forest and palm marsh. This case study will focus on the ASESA.

Section 1
Table 1: A recent history of activity in the ASESA
History & Background
2
Many of the descriptions of the Aripo
Savannas provided in this and other sec-
tions are drawn from a study that was
undertaken by the Caribbean Natural
Resources Institute (CANARI) to prepare
a literature review on the Aripo Savannas
Environmentally Sensitive Area. 1

A recent history of the Aripo Savannas


is provided in this table:

1
EMA, “Aripo Savannas Environmentally Sensitive Area
Literature Review to Facilitate the Preparation of
Management Plans,” (Prepared by CANARI, 2007a).
2
The Long Stretch Forest Reserve was established in January,
1934 under the Forest Ordinance Chapter 141 of 1916.
The Long Stretch Forest Reserve is part of the Cumuto/
Arena Range under the management of the North West
Conservancy.
3
SPNPPA has three main objectives: preservation of species, conservation of species, and protection of wildlife. The plan included 61 protected areas in six categories.
SPNPPA was approved in principle by the Cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago. However, the legislation failed largely because of bureaucratic bickering and resource
management conflict.
!Figure 1: Old Army Bunker

Location & Topography


In 1962, W.D. Richardson undertook vegetation and ecological studies of the Aripo Savannas. His studies
yielded very important information about the flora, fauna and ecosystems that exist in Aripo Savannas. Many
subsequent studies have been based on these fundamental studies undertaken by Richardson, and information
for his studies is still used quite extensively. Many of the descriptions provided in the sections on Climate, Soils,
Vegetation and Flora are based on Richardson’s work. 4

The ASESA is located at latitude 100 35’ 30’’ N and longitude 610 12’ 0’’, and is bordered to the north by the
Valencia River, to the east by the Eastern Main Road between Valencia and Sangre Grande, to the West by the
Aripo River and to the south by the Trinidad Government Railway Reserve (now abandoned) - (see Figure 2).
The area of the ASESA is 1788 hectares. The open savannas cover a total area of 267 hectares, and comprise
three large savannas between 60.7 hectares and 80.9 hectares, one a little under 40.5 hectares, and a number of
small savannas all less than 10.1 hectares. The savannas are generally flat and rise gently to the north.
The microtopography, however, is undulating or broken up into hummocks in some places. The savannas are
situated on old alluvial terraces elevated 30 to 45m above sea level. These terraces fan out from the foothills
of the Northern Range and consist of layers of gravel, sands and clays representing depositional environments
believed to be of Pleistocene age.

4
W. D. Richardson, “Observations of the Vegetation and Ecology of the Aripo Savannas Trinidad,” The Journal of Ecology, 51 no.2 (1962), 295-313.
!

The ASESA is delineated by the


red line in the figure opposite.
The savannas are numbered 1 to
10. Savannas 9 and 10 are not
shown in this figure. Savanna
1 is generally used for public
visits to the savannas. ! )!

(! '!

&!

%!
"!
#! $!

Figure 2: Map of Aripo Savannas Source: EMA (2008 b)


Climate
Rainfall Humidity and Winds
Average annual rainfall ranges from 2400 to 2600mm, with two During the night and pre-dawn, relative
distinct seasonal fluctuations; the dry (January to May) and wet humidity (RH) may be at 100%. In the
(June to December) seasons.5 The seasonal variation of the rain dry season RH may be 60% in the af-
is determined mainly by the annual north-south migration of the ternoon and in the wet season 75%. The
Inter Tropical Convergence Zone. prevailing wind direction changes from
dry season to wet season. During the
Temperature and Sunlight dry season prevailing winds are from
Monthly temperatures in Trinidad range from the north-east, whilst during the wet
minimum of 22.7oC to a maximum of 31.3oC. 6 season prevailing winds are from the
The average number of hours of sunshine for south-east. Wind speeds seldom exceed
Trinidad is 7.2 hours. 40 kph and are higher during the dry
season - particularly in the afternoon.

Soils
In 1953, W. P. Panton produced a study on the soils of the Aripo Savanna district.7 Panton’s work
provides the majority of the information used in this section. 7

Most of the soil in the savannas has some clay


component and can be divided into four slightly
different soil profiles. (See Table 2.)
These differences are attributed principally to
slight textural variations in the parent material.

Weathering and groundwater movements have


modified alluvial material and created a hardpan
layer (claypan) of cemented clays that is
impervious to water movement. The claypan
underlies the ASESA at varying depths, and in
places where the claypan is close to the surface
flooding occurs. The claypan is the major driver
contributing to flooding of the savannas.

Some of the savannas become flooded only after


a rainfall event, for example savanna 1, while ! Figure 3: Flooded Section of Savanna 1
there are others that remain inundated for the
entire wet season, for example savanna 9. The waterlogged conditions during the wet season inhibit root growth
and function due to a lack of oxygen - a condition called “physiological drought”. Alternatively, in the dry sea-
son, the sandy soils dry out rapidly and give rise to physical drought. Also, as the claypan and fragipan dry out,
they become extremely hard so that roots can no longer penetrate to the lower horizons, nor can water move
upwards through the soil. Plants, however, have adapted to the conditions of low nutrient availability and the
flooding or drought in the savannas and specialised forms of plants continue to thrive in the area. Some of the
adaptations of plants to the conditions in the ASESA will be described in the section on vegetation.

5
EMA, “State of the Environment Report”, 1998.
6
CSO, “First Compendium of Environmental Statistics Trinidad and Tobago”, (Ministry of Planning and Development of Trinidad and Tobago, 2007).
7
W. P. Panton, “Field and Laboratory Studies of the Soils of the Aripo Savanna District”, (Dip. diss. Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture Trinidad, 1953).
Table 2 Soil types of Aripo Savannas 8

Vegetation
The uniqueness of the ecosystems (high density of rare, threatened and endemic species) of the ASESA has
prompted management of the Aripo Savannas since 1980. A number of studies on the flora of ASESA have been
undertaken by J.S. Beard in 1946, W.D. Richardson in 1962, S.I. Schwab in 1985 and others, and recorded a
total of 457 plant species of which 39 are restricted to the Aripo Savannas, 16 to 20 are rare or threatened, and
two are endemic. 9 Three main ecosystem types comprise the ASESA: open savannas, palm marsh and marsh
forest.
Open Savannas
The soils of the open savannas are generally thin, low in nutrients and are underlaid by a claypan layer.
The shallowness of the claypan prevents large stands of trees from being established; individual trees spaced
far-apart from each other are more common. 10 Sedges, grasses and herbs dominate the savanna landscape.
Some examples of these include Lagenocarpus tremulus (herbaceous sedge),
Lagenocarpus guianensis (herbaceous sedge), Chrysobalanus icaco var.
pellocarpa (shrub), Miconia ciliate (shrub), Paspalum pulchellum (herb),
and Rhynchospora barbata (herb). Ground orchids like Otostylis brachystalix,
Pogonia tenuis, and Epistephium parviflorum are also found in the savannas.
A number of species are rare or confined to these savannas; they include
clubmoss and several species of bladderwort. 11 The sundew is an insectivorous
(consumes insects) plant growing in the savannas. Insectivorous plants, like
the sundew, are typical of environments where nitrogen and other nutrients
are limited. The plants consume insects for nitrogen. In this way, the sundew
compensates for the low soil nutrition of the savanna soils. Figure 4: Sundew
8
!
Panton 1953
9
EMA 2007a
10
EMA, “Administrative Record for the Environmentally Sensitive Area: Aripo Savannas Scientific Reserve”, (Port of Spain Trinidad, 2007b).
11
Forestry Division Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, and Fisheries, “Technical Document Forestry Division/ OAS Project on the Establishment of a system of National
Parks and Protected Areas”, (Port of Spain Trinidad, 1980).
Marsh Forest
The marsh forest covers most of the land
area of the ASESA. This forest surrounds the
other two plant communities and in places it
joins the palm marsh community. The marsh
forest is flooded for several months of the
year (during the wet season), and the plants
in the marsh forest have adapted to these
alternating flooding and dry conditions.
Flooding is a result of the claypan which
underlies the marsh forest (see explanation
in section on soil). The claypan under the
marsh forest is thinner and deeper than in the
open savannas. The root systems of some
plants, such as palms, penetrate deep into the
claypan where other roots cannot.
This feature allows the palms to access
water during drought periods and to protect
the roots from physiological drought.
Another example of a plant which has
Figure 5: Marsh Forest
adapted to the conditions is the moriche palm
which has aerial roots that allow for a part of the root to be out of the water in flooded conditions.
The difference in plant communities between the open savannas and the marsh forest is stark and the ecotone
therefore is very narrow and sharp. The plant community in the marsh forest can be separated into strata:
the upper stratum trees consist of wild kaimit, yellow mangue, bois bande and cajuca and the lower stratum
consists of biscuit-wood and agalie.12 There are a few species of plants that are restricted to the marsh forest,
for example, the lady slipper orchid.

Palm Marsh
The palm marsh community is found
fringing the savannas in a belt usually
20m wide, and in clumps in the open
savannas. 13 The palm marsh usually
comprises a moriche palm - fat pork
association.
In ecology, an “association” is defined
as a group of organisms that live
together in a geographical region and
constitute a community with a few
dominant species. The moriche palms
form evenly spaced stands with a
thick understory of shrubs or tall Figure 6: Palm Island
sedges or grasses. 14

12
Forestry Division 1980
13
J. S. Beard, “The Natural Vegetation of Trinidad”, (Oxford Forest Mem. 20, 1946).
14
EMA 2007b
Fauna
The Aripo savannas support a diverse group of organisms many of which are rare or threatened. These include
the red brocket deer, armadillo, agouti, lappe, opossum and porcupine. Earthworms also inhabit the open
savannas.
In the wet season, earthworm activity becomes visible on the savannas even in low-flooded conditions; the
worm casts build up mounds of dirt that rise above the water surface.15 Worm casts are biologically active
mounds containing thousands of bacteria, enzymes and remnants of plant materials that were not digested
by the earthworm.16 Termites are also found on the savanna landscape and their ground nests can be found
scattered over the open savanna. In flat areas the nests are often found associated with small clumps of
vegetation. The plant communities in ASESA provide a diverse array of habitats for birds. Rare species of
birds include the scarlet-shouldered parrotlet, the white-tailed golden-throat hummingbird, the savanna hawk,
the sulphury flycatcher and red-bellied macaw which feeds on the seeds of the moriche palms. 17
During the flooded conditions the savannas support several species of fishes, frogs and reptiles. Water boas and
caimans are common in the savannas occupying the palm marsh and marsh forest communities. 18

15
Richardson 1962
16
Mary Appelhof, “Worms Eat My Garbage”, (Michigan USA: Flowerfield Enterprises, 2006), 68.
17
EMA, “Managing Together: a summary of the management plans for the Aripo Savannas, and environmentally sensitive area”, (prepared by CANARI, 2008a).
18
Forestry Division 1980
Section 2
This section focuses on one of the options that exist for addressing some of the drivers that impact on the Aripo
Savannas and surrounding ecosystems. Teachers and students are encouraged to identify other possible driving
forces acting on the Aripo Savannas, and some responses to these challenges. See the Administrative Record
for the Environmentally Sensitive Area: Aripo Savannas Scientific Reserve or Aripo Savannas Environmentally
Sensitive Area Resource Management Plan: A Framework for Participatory Management for more information
on drivers.

Figure 7: Some of the driving forces that impact on Aripo Savanna Environmentally Sensitive Area

Information for section 2 is drawn from two main sources. These are “Aripo Savannas Area Literature
Review to Facilitate the Preparation of Management Plans” 19 and “Managing together: a summary of the
management plans for the Aripo Savannas, an environmentally sensitive area” 20: both of these documents
were prepared by CANARI.

Quarrying
Areas within the ASESA – mainly along the Aripo River - have been mined for gravel, sand and clay for use in
the local construction industry since the 1960s. KP Quarries was the first quarrying company to mine the Aripo
Savannas. In 1979, KP began operations on 16 hectares of the northern part of the Aripo Savannas on a one year
lease. Mining operations continued until 1996 when KP Quarries pulled out of the ASESA. During the seven-
teen-year period, the company mined approximately 60 hectares of the area. However, KP Quarries was not the
only mining operator during this time. In 1982, six companies were known to be operating on 162 hectares of
the savannas and royalties were being accepted by the government on a gravel load basis.

Mining operations physically damaged the savannas, and in some areas intense excavation and wash plant ac-
tivities
irremediably destroyed the ecology. Comparison of aerial photos of the Aripo Savannas taken in 1969 and 1994
showed that the area in the south-western part of the savannas to the north of Savanna 1 and immediately to the
east of the Aripo River was destroyed by quarrying. The EMA has noted that quarrying has disturbed 2 to 5%
of the marsh forest and palm marsh communities. Although quarry operations have been stopped in the ASESA,
the effects are still felt (Box 1). The high demand for aggregates for the local construction industry puts the
ASESA at risk for quarrying in the future. This demand from the local construction industry is an example
of an indirect driver.

19
EMA 2007a
20
EMA 2007b
Mining operations physically damaged the
savannas, and in some areas intense excava-
tion and wash plant activities
irremediably destroyed the ecology. Com-
parison of aerial photos of the Aripo Savan-
nas taken in 1969 and 1994 showed that the
area in the south-western part of the savannas
to the north of Savanna 1 and immediately to
the east of the Aripo River was destroyed by
quarrying. The EMA has noted that quarrying
has disturbed 2 to 5% of the marsh forest and
palm marsh communities. Although quarry
operations have been stopped in the ASESA,
the effects are still felt (Box 1). The high de-
mand for aggregates for the local construction
industry puts the ASESA at risk for quarrying
in the future. This demand from the local con-
struction industry is an example of an indirect
driver.

Figure 8: Black River


!

One of the forest marsh communities situated to the north-


western edge of Savanna 1 is an example of the effects of quar-
rying on the savannas. KP Quarries - while in operation - con-
Discussion: structed a road through the savannas for ease of access to the
Can the problems due to quarrying be quarrying site. The road acted as a dam to the Black River and
reversed? If yes, how can it be done? caused flooding in one of the adjacent forest marsh communi-
See the Administrative Record for the Envi- ties. The damming of the Black River causes water to inundate
ronmentally Sensitive Area: Aripo Savannas
that forest marsh community for almost the entire year, and has
Scientific Reserve or Aripo Savannas Environ-
mentally Sensitive Area Resource Management a detrimental effect on the growth of palms. The palms in that
Plan: A Framework for Participatory Manage- forest marsh community are now experiencing crown thinning
ment for more information. These two docu- disease. Crown thinning disease is usually a result of chronic
ments are available on EMA’s website.
stress; in this case the stress is the continuous presence of water
to which the palms are unaccustomed.21

21
Edmund Charles, Interview, September 2008.
Fire
Fire is a major problem for the biodiversity within the ASESA. The direct impact of fire is injury or mortality
of flora and fauna. The indirect impact includes the possible loss or change in biodiversity. When fires burn
trees, understory plants or ground vegetation, the microclimate of the area can be radically altered, and this can
subsequently affect recovery of the forest. For example, the removal of trees can result in a decrease in humidity
of an area, which can cause leaf litter to dry out, and increase the susceptibility to burning.
The change in microclimate also reduces the ability of the forest to recover from disturbance. Large fires oc-
curred in 1987 and 2003, and it is suggested that these were the result of human carelessness. These fires signifi-
cantly damaged large areas of palm swamp and marsh forest. It is suggested that fires are actually set by hunt-
ers to lure animals out of the forested areas. Illegal farmers may also set fires to clear areas of the ASESA for
agriculture.

Hunting
Hunting for animals in the Aripo Savannas occurred on a regular basis during pre-Colombian and historic
Amerindian times. Trapping and removal of birds – particularly for the brilliantly-coloured feathers of the
red-bellied macaw – was common in the savannas. Indigenous peoples kept birds as pets and also used the
feathers for decorative purposes.
Legal restrictions linked to the protected area status of Aripo Savannas prohibit unlawful entry into the area
for hunting. The lack of adequate surveillance over the savannas, coupled with the lucrative price of wild
meat (that is, the meat of animals not reared for human consumption) encourages illegal hunting of small
game including deer and lappe. Illegal collection of flora and fauna for private collections and for sale is also
a common occurrence.

Disturbance
Residential and agricultural squatting is highlighted as a major problem in the management of the Aripo Savan-
nas. In 2003, it was estimated that approximately 375 hectares of land within the savannas was squatted upon.
Clearing the land for agriculture, as well as extensive fires and quarrying have greatly impacted on the ecology
of some areas in the savannas. Forester Edmund Charles notes that squatting takes place on the borders of the
savannas. From comparisons of aerial photos of the Aripo Savannas taken in 1969 and 1994, ecologist Michael
Oatham concluded that the status of the savanna ecosystems changed between those years as Savannas 9 and 10
in the north of the reserve were heavily disturbed.

Discussion: The EMA has identified possible threats to the area:


Squatting is not occurring in the 1. The development of the eTeck industrial park and the
savannas but on the fringes: University of Trinidad and Tobago.
why is this a problem? 2. The extension of the road network in the area by the
See the Administrative Record for the Envi- Ministry of Works and Transport of Trinidad and Tobago
ronmentally Sensitive Area: Aripo Savannas using the abandoned railway line that is the southern
Scientific Reserve or Aripo Savannas Environ- boundary of the reserve. The road has a number of
mentally Sensitive Area Resource Management associated problems including habitat disturbance, light,
Plan: A Framework for Participatory Manage-
sound and gaseous pollution, and increased access to the
ment for more information.
savannas.
3. A town planning initiative by international consultants may
lead to fragmentation of habitats, which could lead to
species loss. Species loss is a problem of particular concern
for the ASESA as it is home to a significant number of rare
species.
Aripo Savannas Environmentally
Sensitive Area (ASESA)
What is an Environmentally Sensitive Area or ESA?
An ESA is a portion of the environment where the landscape, wildlife or ecological functions require special
legal protection so that its value can be preserved for the present and future generations.22
The EMA has selected some criteria for the designation of an area as an ESA. These include, but are not limited
to an area that is:
- The actual or prospective habitat of any environmentally sensitive species.
- Required for protection by the government because it falls under the auspices of a ratified or acceded
international convention. For example, the Ramsar Convention or the SPAW Protocol.
- Unique or rare in its ecosystems, geological features or biological features.
- Regarded by the scientific community as having significant value for non-destructive research.
- The Aripo Savannas was declared an environmentally sensitive area on 5 June 2007.

What does designation as an ESA mean for management?


Specific objectives were outlined by the EMA in the designation of the Aripo Savannas as an ESA.
These include:
1. Protection of habitats
To ensure the protection of the integrity of the Aripo Savannas, actions or activities that alter or upset the
integrity of the natural functioning of the ecosystems of the savannas, or cause undue stress to plant and
animal communities, are prohibited.

Table 3: Recommendations/ Interventions for prohibited actions and activities in ASESA

22
EMA, “Aripo Savannas Environmentally Sensitive Area Resource Management Plan: A Framework for Participatory Management”, (Prepared by CANARI, 2008b).
23
EMA 2007a
There are activities that encourage preservation and sustainable management and these are permitted in the
savannas. These activities include scientific and cultural research, educational activities, and any non-destruc-
tive activity that is in keeping with the enjoyment and experience of the environment of the savannas.

2. Conservation of natural resources and the environment and support of environmental education and
information sharing
Education is a major aspect of any plan for management of resources. It helps to transform attitudes
and behaviour, which in turn influence people’s actions. In the ASESA resource management plan, several
recommendations are made for education and information programmes which should:
- Target local primary and secondary schools and communities in the areas surrounding the ASESA with
activities that focus on some of the issues that ASESA faces, such as fire management.
- Include lectures, informational brochures and posters for local community groups, corporate entities and
businesses.
- Establish a visitor centre which would be a hub of information for the ASESA, but would also provide
a facility for training, meetings and storage of equipment.
- Provide opportunities for research in the ASESA. This research can be used to guide future management
of the area. The ASESA resource management plan has outlined a number of research priorities for the
ASESA.
Who is responsible for management?
Trinidad and Tobago has signed several multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) such as the SPAW
Protocol 24, CITES 25 and the CBD 26 which obligate the state to support protection, preservation and sustainable
management of the ASESA. Under the umbrella of the government and through support from MEAs, the EMA
has the ultimate responsibility of management of the ASESA, with the Forestry Division undertaking the admin-
istrative and day-to-day responsibilities of the ASESA. A cabinet appointed committee - Aripo Savannas Stake-
holder Management Committee (ASSMC) - which includes representatives from public and private sectors,
NGOs, CBOs and community representatives is supposed to provide guidance and strategic direction for the
management of the ASESA.
In addition to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, a number of stakeholders including community groups,
individuals, NGOs, and organisations like the Sundew Tour-guiding Services play an active role in helping to
manage the ASESA. One of the major challenges to management is to ensure that the efforts of the stakeholders
(including the state) of the ASESA, are coordinated to avoid conflicting efforts or duplicating efforts.

Discussion:
Compare ASESA with other ESA
areas in Trinidad and Tobago and
the region - are the management
systems effective there?
What could be done to improve
management systems in ASESA
and other ESAs?

24
SPAW Protocol available at http://www.cep.unep.org/pubslegislation/spaw.html
25
CITES available at http://www.cites.org/
26
CBD available at http://www.cbd.int/
Suggested Activities
Leopold Matrix
An example of how the Leopold Matrix can be used is provided below.
For more information on the Leopold Matrix refer to Guidelines for Learning Activities.

Five Whys
An example of how the Five Whys exercise can be used is used is provided below.
For more information on the Five Whys exercise refer to Guidelines for Learning Activities.

Note that this example is oversimplified, and in reality issues tend to have multiple causes. This activity should
be repeated to include a variety of answers for Whys to help students appreciate the many complex factors
surrounding any one issue.
Suggested Sampling Methodology For The Aripo Savannas
Measuring Species Richness of Plants on the Aripo Savannas
This activity is drawn from a field exercise designed by Dr. Michael Oatham of the Life Sciences Department
of the University of the West Indies. 27

Background
Diversity in communities can be considered in terms of numbers of species or other taxonomic category, e.g.
species diversity. There are two main constraints to describing the diversity of communities. First, the sample
from the community must be large enough to represent the community adequately. This means that large
numbers of samples must be taken. The second constraint is the time and other resources needed to take these
samples. Generally, as sample size increases, the study becomes more expensive in terms of time and resources
and these are usually limited in availability. One of the main methods to determine a balance between these two
constraints is by deriving a species-area curve.
A species-area curve is derived by sampling larger and larger areas of the community until no new species
are added to a cumulative species list. When no new species are encountered in new quadrats, the cumulative
number of species remains the same for a further increase in sampling area.
This is taken as the optimum sample size (in terms of area) for sampling this community.

!
Figure 9: Species-area curve

27
Michael Oatham, “Measuring Species Richness of Plants on the Aripo Savannas”, (Field manual Dept. of Life Sciences Univ. of the West Indies, 2006).
Species-area curve
At the end of the activity students should be able to:
1. Conduct quadrat sampling in a grassland community.
2. Construct a species-area curve for this community and derive from this an estimate of species richness
and the optimum number of quadrat samples needed for sampling this community.
3. Distinguish between the common species of plants in the Aripo Savannas.

Objectives
1. To sample a community of plants in the Aripo Savannas using quadrats.
2. To draw a species-area curve for this community.
3. To estimate the species richness (the number of species) of plants in the Aripo Savannas.
4. To estimate the minimum number of quadrat samples needed for this sampling community.

Materials
1. Three to six 0.25m2 or 0.5m2 quadrats
2. Measuring tape
3. Magnifying glass

Field methods
1. At the Aripo Savannas study site similar areas of savanna vegetation need to be identified.
Be careful not to trample the vegetation within your study area.
2. The arrangement of quadrats outlined is not mandatory and can be extended or reduced depending on
the size of class, or the required sample effort.

!
Figure 10: Arrangement of sampling quadrats

3. Using a 0.5m2 quadrat, lay the measuring tape down for a length of 2.0m, and locate along this the first
four quadrats at the top of the sampling area. Mark the corners of the quadrats 1 to 4, and move the
quadrats along to the new positions for the second set of samples (5 to 8). When these are completed,
the other 8 quadrats can be set up in a similar fashion so that they are all contiguous.
4. For each quadrat, identify each species by giving it a letter name (AA, AD, BB, etc.).
Use the magnifying glass to identify minute features on plants. Draw up a list of letter names and a
rough sketch or description of identifying features, e.g. hairy grass, short herb with purple flowers.
For each quadrat, note the presence of each of these species and the quadrat number.
Remember that the Aripo Savannas is a protected scientific reserve and environmentally sensitive
area and no collecting of plants or animals or damage to the habitat is allowed.

Data analysis
1. Using the quadrat labels from Figure 10, randomly select one of your quadrats and note which species
are present and count them.
2. Randomly select another quadrat and count the number of species that occur in this second quadrat that
did not occur in the first. Add these to the number of species in the first quadrat for a cumulative total for
the 2 quadrats.
3. Calculate the cumulative number of species for 3 quadrats using step 2 and repeat until all 16 quadrats
have been analysed. Construct a table of number of quadrats and the cumulative number of species.
4. Plot a line graph of cumulative number of species (y-axis) against numbers of quadrats (x-axis).
5. Identify the minimum number of quadrats required for deriving a species-area curve for this community.

Bibliography
Alkins-Koo, Mary. 2005. Ecological Assessment Environmental Management Authority (EMA).
and Human Impacts. BIOL 2461, 2007a. Aripo Savannas Environmentally Sensitive
Dept. Of Life Sciences, University of the Area Literature Review to Facilitate the
West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. Preparation of Management Plans.
Prepared by the Caribbean Natural Resource
Alkins-Koo, Mary. 2007. Environmental Evaluation Institute (CANARI).
& Impact Assessment. BIOL 2461,
Dept. Of Life Sciences, University of the Environmental Management Authority. 2007b.
West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. Administrative Record for the Environmentally
Sensitive Area: Aripo Savannas Scientific Reserve.
Appelhof, Mary 2006. Worms Eat My Garbage. Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Michigan, USA: Flowerfield Enterprises. Pp 68.
http://www.kitsapezearth.com/contactus.html Environmental Management Authority. 2008a.
[accessed 20 August 2008] Managing together: A summary of the management
plans for the Aripo Savannas, an environmentally
Beard J.S. 1946. The natural vegetation of Trinidad. sensitive area. Prepared by the Caribbean Natural
Oxford Forest. Mem. 20 Resource Institute for the Environmental
Management Authority. Port of Spain, Trinidad
Beeby, Alan and Anne-Maria Brennan, 1997.
First Ecology. London: Chapman and Hall. Environmental Management Authority. 2008b.
Aripo Savannas Environmentally Sensitive
Central Statistical Office (CSO). 2007. Area Resource Management Plan: A Framework
First Compendium of Environmental Statistics for Participatory Management. Prepared by the
Trinidad and Tobago. Ministry of Planning and Caribbean Natural Resources Institute for the
Development, Trinidad and Tobago. Environmental Management Authority.
Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Charles, Edmund, 2008.
Interview on 4th September, 2008. Forte, Maximilian C. 2006.
We the Carib Community of Trinidad and Tobago.
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). 2009. Santa Rosa Carib Community.
The Convention on Biological Diversity. http://www.kacike.org/srcc/weone.htm
http://www.cbd.int/ (accessed 20 August 2008). [accessed 12 August 2008].

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Johnson, Kim. (2002, June 23). Aripo: A scarred
Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). National Treasure. The Trinidad Guardian, p.20.
http://www.cites.org/ (accessed 20 August 2008.)
Oatham, Michael, 2006. United Nations Environment Programme Caribbean
Measuring Species Richness of Plants on the Aripo Environment Programme (UNEP-CEP). Overview
Savannas. Field Manual. Dept. of Life Sciences, of the SPAW Protocol.
The University of the West Indies. http://www.cep.unep.org/cartagenaconvention/
spaw-protocol
Panton, W.P. 1953. Field and Laboratory Studies of (accessed 12 August 2008)
the Soils of the Aripo Savanna District. Dissertation
for Diploma, Trinidad: Tropical Agriculture of the Additional references include:
Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, Trinidad.
Comeau, P.L., Y. S. Comeau, and W. Johnson. 2003.
Richardson, W.D. 1962. Observations on the The Palm Book of Trinidad and Tobago including
Vegetation and Ecology of the Aripo Savannas, the Lesser Antilles. International Palm Society.
Trinidad. The Journal of Ecology 51 (2): 295 - 313
Schwab, S. 1988. “Faunal checklist of the Aripo
Trinidad and Tobago. Forestry Division Ministry of Savannas (Scientific Reserve)”.
Agriculture, Lands, and Fisheries. (1980). Living World: Journal of the Trinidad and Tobago
Technical Document Forestry Division/ OAS Naturalist Field Club. pp. 8-11
Project on the Establishment of a system of National
Parks and Protected Areas. Schwab, S.I. 1988. Floral and faunal compostion,
Port of Spain: Forestry Division, OAS. phenology and fire in the Aripo Savannas Scientific
Reserve, Trinidad, West Indies. Unpublished M.Sc.
UNEP. 2007. Global Environment Outlook 4 Thesis. University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.
(GEO4): Environment for Development. Malta:
Progress Press Ltd.

APPENDIX A: Scientific Names of Plants and Animals mentioned in the text

Table 1 Common and Scientific Names of Plants Mentioned in the Text


Table 2 Common and Scientific Names of Animals Mentioned in the Text

Sources: EMA (2007a); EMA (2007b); EMA (2008b)

APPENDIX B: Acronyms used in this case study

ASESA Aripo Savannas Environmentally Sensitive Area

ASSMC Aripo Savannas Stakeholder Management Committee

ASSR Aripo Savannas Scientific Reserve

CBD Convention on Biological Diversity

CBO Community based organisation


APPENDIX B: Acronyms used in this case study

CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

EMA Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago

ESA Environmentally Sensitive Area

GoRTT Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

LSFR Long Stretch Forest Reserve

MEAs Multilateral Environmental Agreements

NGO non-governmental organisation

OAS Organisation of American States

RH Relative Humidity

SPAW Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife

SPNPPA Systems Plan of National Parks and other Protected Areas

US United States of America

WASA Water and Sewage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago

APPENDIX C: Glossary of terms used in this study


Aggregate Unit of soil structure generally < 10 mm in diameter and formed by natural forces and
substances derived from root exudates and microbial products which cement smaller particles
into larger units.

Alluvial Flat elevated benches composed of unconsolidated alluvium found on either side of a stream
terrace channel. Formed when a stream down cuts into its floodplain. Alluvium is the material
deposited by a stream.

Biodiversity The variability of among living organisms from all sources: terrestrial, marine and other
aquatic ecosystems, as well as the ecological complexes of which they are part. Biodiversity
includes diversity within and among species (genetic and species diversity) and diversity
within and among ecosystems (ecosystem diversity). Biodiversity is considered at three main
levels: genetic, species and ecosystem.

Claypan A layer of compact, stiff, relatively impervious non-cemented clay.

Clays Mineral particle with a size less than 0.004 mm in diameter.

Communities An assemblage of species occurring in the same space and/ or time, and is often linked by
(ecological) biotic interactions such as competition or predation.
Driver/Driving Any natural or human-induced factor that directly or indirectly causes a change in an
forces ecosystem.

Ecosystems Dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organisms communities and their non-living
environment interacting as a functional unit.

Ecotone The transitional area between two adjacent ecosystems or ecological communities.

Endemic Native to and found only in a specified area.

Ferns A group of about 11,000 species of vascular seedless plants that belong to the division
Pterophyta. About 75 percent of the various species of ferns are found in the tropics.
Some ferns grow on the branches of trees as epiphytes.

Floral A group of organisms that live together in a geographical region and constitute a community
association with a few dominant species.

Fragipan A dense, natural subsurface layer of hard soil with relatively slow permeability to water,
mostly because of its extreme density or compactness, rather than its high clay content or
cementation.

Grasses Type of plant that has long slender leaves that extend from a short stem or the soil surface.

Gravel A term used to describe unconsolidated sediments composed of rock fragments.


These rock fragments have a size that is greater than 2 mm.

Herbs A non-woody angiosperm whose above ground vegetation dies off seasonally.

Historic This period was around the 16th – 17th century.


Amerindian
period

Hummock A general geological term referring to a small knoll or mound above ground that are typically
less than 1.5m in height and tend to appear in groups or fields.

Inter Tropical Zone of low atmospheric pressure and ascending air located at or near the equator.
Convergence Rising air currents are due to global wind convergence and convection from thermal heating.
Zone (ITCZ) Location of the thermal equator.

Liana A species of plant that grows on the trunk or branches of woody plants.

Microtopography Surface features of the earth of small dimensions, commonly less than 50 ft. (15 m).

Palms Any of numerous plants of the family Palmae, most species being tall, unbranched trees
surmounted by a crown of large pinnate or cleft leaves.

Pleistocene 1.8 million - 10,000 years ago

Pre-Colombian Of, or relating to the time before the arrival of Columbus to the Americas
period
Relative The ratio between the actual amounts of water vapour held in the atmosphere compared to
humidity the amount required for saturation. Relative humidity is influenced by temperature and
atmospheric pressure.

Sand Mineral particle with a size between 0.06 and 2.0 millimeters in diameter.

Savanna A tropical or subtropical region of grassland and other drought-resistant vegetation.


This type of growth occurs in regions that have a long dry season, but a heavy rainy season,
and continuously high temperatures. May also occur as a result of soil conditions e.g. Aripo
Savannas.

Shrub A woody plant species that is smaller than a tree. Shrubs usually do not have a trunk.

Soil horizon Layer within a soil profile that differs physically, biologically or chemically from layers
above and/or below it.

Squatting The act of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied space or building that the person
committing the act (squatter) does not own, rent or otherwise have permission to use.

Stakeholder The individuals, groups or organizations that are involved in, or may be affected by a change
in the conditions governing the management and use of a resource, area or sector.

Strata The layers or beds found in sedimentary rock. Also refers to the different height groupings of
(stratum sing.) trees in a forest.

Vegetation The cover of plants, above and below ground, commonly but not always differentiated into
layers (storeys, tiers).
THE CROPPER FOUNDATION

B
Buccoo reef
r
In this case study:
Section 1
In 1998, Richard Laydoo, Kurt Bonair and Gerard Alleng authored a paper on the ecology and coral
reef ecosystem of the Buccoo Reef and Bon Accord Lagoon in Tobago. 1 This paper, together with work
undertaken by the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) to formulate a management plan for the Buccoo
Reef Marine Park, 2 provide the majority of information for the sections dealing with location, and
biodiversity.

Location
The Buccoo Reef is located on the leeward southwest coast of Tobago between 11o08’N and 11o12’N latitude
and 60o40’W and 60o51’W longitude. Buccoo Reef comprises five emergent fringing reefs, a shallow sandy
lagoon with a patchy distribution of coral communities, and an adjacent sheltered lagoon (Bon Accord Lagoon).
Together these cover an area of 7km2.
The reef flats are generally characterized by narrow seaward reef crests and a more extensive back reef toward
the reef lagoon. Between the reef flats are sandy bottom channels, the widest and deepest is the Deep Channel
located between the Western and Northern Reefs. The fore reef is most extensive in the northern part of the reef
system, and here it slopes to depths of 10 to 15m in depth. West of the reef flats the fore reef slopes to a depth
of 20m; to the east the fore reef slopes to a depth of 15m. The Bon Accord Lagoon is located to the south of the
Nylon Pool and to the west of the Eastern Reef Flat. The lagoon is poorly flushed, and the water in the lagoon
circulates every 2 to 5 days.

!Figure 1: Map of Buccoo Reef Ecosystem Adapted from Laydoo et al. (1998)

1 Richard Laydoo, Kurt Bonair and Gerard Alleng, “ Buccoo Reef and Bon Accord Lagoon, Tobago, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago”,

Coastal Region and small island papers, 3 (1998).


2 IMA, “The formulation of a management plan for the Buccoo Reef Marine Park”, volume 2 Socioeconomic aspects, (Institute of Marine Affairs, 1994).
Geology/ Formation
Coral polyps are the building blocks of any coral reef. They are soft-bodied, tubular-shaped, invertebrate
animals that grow to a length and height between 3mm and 56mm.3 Coral polyps have evolved a symbiotic
relationship with a type of algae called zooxanthellae.4 The zooxanthellae give the coral its characteristic
colour. Zooxanthellae produce sugars and oxygen through photosynthesis and aid the polyp in the process
of producing limestone or calcium carbonate.5 The polyp secretes the limestone to form a hard shell around
its body and attach itself to a stable substrate. During reproduction, coral polyps move across the substrate to
extend coral colonies or to make new coral colonies. When the polyps die the calcium carbonate skeletons of
the polyps, together with limestone deposits of coralline algae fuse to form coral reefs. Reefs grow upward as
generations of coral polyps produce limestone skeletons, die and become the base for new generations.

Table 1: Conditions for growth of coral reefs 6

The Buccoo Reef is a fringing reef. Fringing reefs are relatively young coral reefs that grow close to the shore;
they grow upwards to sea level or just below and outwards toward the open oceans. Buccoo Reef is of Holocene
origin, and lies on a Pleistocene carbonate platform which is similar to the terrestrial geology of the low lying
south-western region of Tobago. 8

3 G.J. Edgar and Steve Parish, “Coral Reef Fact, Great Barrier Reef interesting facts about the reef”, Autstralian Marine Life,

http://www.barrierreefaustralia.com/the-great-barrier-reef/coralfacts.htm
4 Teresa Zubi, “Coral Reefs: Reef Formation”, http://www.starfish.ch/reef/reef.html
5 Ibid
6 Science Clarified, “Biology of corals, Formation of coral reefs”, http://www.scienceclarified.com/Ci-Co/Coral.html
7 TDE, “Tobago Diving Temperatures and Visibility Table”, Tobago Dive Experience, http://www.tobagodiveexperience.com/tde/temperature.aspx
8 Laydoo et al. 1998
!
Figure 2: The zones profile of a typical coral reef Source: Carothers (2007)

Oceanography
This section draws heavily on J.S. Kenny’s studies of the Buccoo Reef/ bon Accord Complex.

Buccoo Reef is exposed to the prevailing North East trade winds for most of the year, except for periods in the
dry season (January to May) when the prevailing wind direction is westerly. As a result, the Outer and Eastern
Reef flats are subject to high wind and wave energy particularly in the dry season when the winds are stronger.
During November and December strong oceanic swells are common, and the north-eastern fringe of the reef
experiences high wave action.

Water movement in the Buccoo Reef is wind-driven and generally westerly, with some reversal in the Bon
Accord Lagoon and the south west channel near Pigeon Point during flood tide. Surface circulation to the west
of Buccoo Reef is apparently more influenced by north-westerly water movement between Trinidad and
Tobago. 9 Discharges from the Orinoco River reduce the salinity and increase the turbidity of this water during
the wet season, which reduce light availability needed for coral growth. 10 However, this chronic seasonal stress
has not prevented the development of massive and biologically diverse reef formations in the Buccoo Reef. 11

9 Ibid
10 Brain E. Lapointe, “Impacts of land-based nutrient pollution on coral reefs of Tobago”, (Prepared for Buccoo Reef Trust, 2003).
11 Ibid
Biodiversity
Coral Reefs
Various coral communities exist in the Buccoo Reef area, and the diversity of the area is dependent on spatial
characteristics of the reef such as water depth, slope of the substrate and wave action.
Along the fore reef, the coral community is stratified according to depth. On the shallow forereef areas (2 to
6m depth) the elkhorn coral is common, although much of this coral is dead standing elkhorn coral skeletons or
rubble. Star coral (which is more wave resistant than other coral types) is also present here.12 In deeper areas of
the fore reef, large colonies of brain coral, starlet coral and star coral dominate the reef. In the deepest areas of
the fore reef, colonies of leaf coral, gorgonians and sponges are common.
A number of small coral formations characterised by one or few species, occur throughout the shallow backreef
lagoon and the Bon Accord Lagoon. The coral formation in the northern areas of the backreef lagoon comprises
large boulder-like reefs of star coral and brain coral, in association with sea fans.
The formations in the western areas of the backreef lagoon consist of thickets of staghorn coral. In the eastern
areas the coral formations also comprise staghorn coral as well as fire coral. To the south and in Bon Accord
Lagoon, patches of finger coral occur in association with a calcareous green alga.

Figure 3: Coral Reefs Figure 4: Seagrass Beds Figure 5: Fish & Marine Animals

Seagrass Beds Mangrove Wetlands


In the western area of the Bon Accord Lagoon, the plant Mangrove communities comprised of species of red,
and animal community comprises an extensive seagrass white and black mangrove trees border the south
bed of which turtle grass is the dominant seagrass. and east of the Bon Accord Lagoon in a belt several
Other marine organisms found there include macroalgae, hundred metres wide.
sea urchins, molluscs, oysters and sea cucumbers. 13
Fish and Marine Animals
In 1994, the IMA reported that there are about 70 species of fish in the reef. However, with continual degrada-
tion of the reef, this figure may now be reduced. Some of the fish species include blue tang; blue striped grunt;
four-eye butterfly fish; creole wrasse and queen angel fish.14 Some other fauna include banded coral shrimp;
Christmas tree worm; Caribbean reef squid; hawksbill turtle; spotted moray; and yellow tube sponge.15 The
many varied habitats – different types of corals, mangrove, seagrass beds – facilitate a wide diversity of species.
Although the diversity is well represented in terms of fish and coral species, Buccoo Reef is not as diverse as
other areas of Tobago. The lower diversity is due to stress on the reef because of the close proximity to the
Orinoco River discharge. The report also highlighted that these natural stresses may have some important man-
agement implications since the reef’s plant and animal communities will be much more sensitive and suscepti-
ble to human activities which result in direct or indirect negative impacts on the quality of the reef environment.
12 Kenny 1976
13 Ibid
14 Keisha Sandy, “ Buccoo Reef Marine Park Tour Operator’s Companion”, Department of Marine Resources and Fisheries, Tobago.
15 Ibid
Table 2: Number of marine species of various taxa recorded for Buccoo Reef and Bon Accord Lagoon 16

Note: Some taxa may contain more species than indicated in the table.

16 IMA (1994)
Section 2
In 2008, a report 17 was produced by Lauretta Burke, Suzie Greenhalgh, Daniel Prager and Emily Cooper
based on an economic valuation of coral reefs in Tobago and St. Lucia. The valuation project was led by
the World Resources Institute, in close collaboration with IMA, Buccoo Reef Trust, CANARI and UWI.
The report provides much of the information that was used in Section 2. Some important economic find-
ings of the report are presented as “Revenue Sheets”.

The next section will apply the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment18(MA) Conceptual Framework to the
Buccoo Reef ecosystem to help examine some of the benefits and services that the Buccoo Reef ecosystem
provides; to look at some of the problems affecting the reef; and to look at how some of these problems are
being solved. The MA conceptual framework will also help us to examine the links between human wellbeing,
the benefits and services that the reef provides, and the problems affecting the reef.

Box 1:
Parts of Millennium
Ecosystem Assessment
Conceptual Framework

17 Lauretta Burke, Suzie Greenhalgh,


Daniel Pragerand Emily Cooper,
“Coastal Capital - Economic Valuation
of Coral Reefs in Tobago and St. Lucia”,
World Resources Institute, 2008.

18 From 2001 – 2005, UNEP undertook


an assessment of the consequences of
ecosystem change on human well being
and established a scientific basis for
actions needed to reduce the harmful
effects that humans have on ecosystems.
How do we benefit from The Buccoo Reef Ecosystem?
Tourism and Recreation (Provisioning and Cultural services)
Coral reefs have long been regarded as the treasures of the sea because of their aesthetic beauty, complexity and
vast biodiversity. As a result coral reefs tend to be a hub for tourist activity as well as scientific research.
The Buccoo Reef ecosystem is still the highlight of Tobago tourist attractions, and boat tours of the reef are the
major tourist activity. The areas of the reef used for boat tours include the Outer Reef flat, the Coral Gardens
and the Nylon Pool. Other activities include snorkelling on the shallow backreef of the Outer Reef flat, and
sport diving at forereef sites. 19 The Coral Gardens experiences one of the highest volumes of
tourist activity mainly because many of the other areas of the Buccoo Reef are degraded
and have low fish and coral abundances.
Coral reef-associated tourism and recreation is a source of employment and livelihood for many people in
Tobago. Employment is provided directly through hotels, guest houses and boat tours of the island’s reefs,
and indirectly from the sale of crafts, transport services, food and beverage services and land tours.
In 2005 it was estimated that tourism employed about 60% of Tobago’s workforce. In addition to being a source
of employment for many, coral reef-associated tourism and recreation is Tobago’s largest economic sector and
contributes about 46% of Tobago’s annual gross domestic product (GDP).

Box 2

Local residents also utilize the reefs for recreational purposes. Many Trinidadians visit Tobago for vacation
several times in any one year. A survey undertaken by the University of the West Indies of local residents’
use of reefs and coralline beaches estimated a contribution between TT $78 and 264 million to annual GDP.

Fisheries (Provisioning service)


The Buccoo Reef supports a high diversity of fish and other marine animal species, particularly in the Coral
Gardens and in the forereef area.20 The surrounding mangrove also provides habitats, food sources, and
nurseries for many fish and marine animal species. The Buccoo Reef inclusive of the Bon Accord Lagoon
and surrounding mangroves supports fisheries which provide livelihoods for many persons in Tobago.21

Box 3

19 Richard Laydoo, “The Forereef Slopes of the Buccoo Reef Complex, Tobago”, Technical Report IMA Trinidad, 1985.
20 Chris Bentley, “Effects of Reef Isolation on the rapid colonisation of Artificial Reefs by fishes on Buccoo Reef, Tobago, West Indies”,

(Master’s thesis Univ. of Newcastle upon Tyne, 2004).


21 FAO, “Shrimp and Pot Fishing”, Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, http://www.fao.org/fishery/fishtech/1017
Reef-fishing in Tobago is predominantly small-scale and traditional, and operates seasonally. Fishermen use pot
fishing as their primary fishing method, and at times may also practice seine fishing. Pot fishing is used to catch
mainly shell fish and finfish, while seine fishing can catch more species of fish but is potentially more harmful to
the reef than pot fishing.

Information from consultations with stakeholders including staff of the Fisheries Division, the Buccoo Reef
Trust, the head of the Tobago Fisherfolk Association, several fishermen, and Tobago Live (a fish exporter),
suggests that many coral reefs in Tobago are overfished, and that fish size and overall productivity of the coral
fishery is declining.

The economic valuation of Tobago’s reef fisheries undertaken by Burke et al. (2008) revealed some very impor-
tant findings about the contributions of fisheries to Tobago’s economy and to livelihoods. Although in this study
Tobago’s reefs were considered collectively, the information is quite valuable when considering the contribution
that Buccoo Reef’s fisheries make to livelihoods.

Box 4

Coastal Protection (Regulating service)


Coral reefs protect the coastline from wave erosion by reducing the intensity of the waves as they travel towards
the coast from offshore. Burke et al. (2008) suggest that coral reefs reduce wave energy by as much as 75 to
95%. High intensity waves have the ability to erode coastlines, remove sand from beaches and destroy coastal
property. Mangroves also play an important role in shoreline protection especially for storms of high energy and
intensity like hurricanes.
The damage avoided by coral reef protection in Tobago is estimated to range from TT $108 to 198 million per
year. This is the amount of money that will need to be spent on damages caused by the effects of waves if coral
reefs and mangroves are removed.
The Importance of Valuing Ecosystem Services
When we attach a monetary value to an ecosystem service it becomes easier to appreciate the value of the
ecosystem service. Appreciation of ecosystem services may encourage public participation and support for
environmental initiatives. The economic valuation studies undertaken in Tobago attached a dollar-value to
some of the services that the Buccoo Reef ecosystem provides. Valuing ecosystem services in this way is called
economic valuation. Economic valuation applies different techniques for different situations. For example,
some ecosystem services like food, fuel and timber are easy to valuate because they can be bought and
sold on the market. Other ecosystem services like water purification, aesthetic beauty and climate regula-
tion are not easily valuated and other valuation methods must be applied in order to attach a dollar-value
to the service. More information on valuation of ecosystem services is available in “Ecosystem Services:
A Guide for Decision Makers, available at:
http://www.wri.org/publication/ecosystem-services-a-guide-for-decision-makers

The services provided by the Buccoo Reef ecosystem enhance human well-being in a number of ways through
livelihoods, food provisioning, recreation and coastal protection. These services, however, are under threat by
some drivers acting on the reef ecosystem. Losing these services will mean that we need to find some other
activity to provide livelihoods, to generate income to purchase food, and to offset costs due to coastal damage.
We will explore these drivers in the next sections, and in the section that follows we will explore the links
between ecosystem services, human well-being and drivers.

Discussion:
If we lose the services that the Buccoo Reef
ecosystem provides:
What happens to the many persons dependant on these
services for livelihoods?
What economic activities can offset the contribution
made to annual GDP by Reef’s services?
What other services and benefits could we lose
if we lose the Buccoo Reef?

The Drivers on The Buccoo Reef Ecosystem


Pollution in Buccoo Reef
Pollution is one of the main problems affecting the Buccoo Reef, and its effects are evident by the dying corals,
lack of fish and general lack of marine life in some parts of the reef. One of the major effects of pollution on the
reef is EUTROPHICATION. The accumulation of nutrients in the Buccoo Reef has encouraged macroalgae to
thrive and overgrow much of the coral. Overfishing of macroalgae consumers like parrotfish and surgeonfish in
the reef has also allowed the macroalgae to grow unchecked. As a result many of the coral species die, the fish
and other marine animals move to other areas, and that section of the reef becomes a dead zone.
The source of the nutrient input into the reef is not immediately obvious, and in fact the nutrient input is sug-
gested to come from a number of sources. One of the suggested sources is SEWAGE. Many of the houses,
hotels and properties located in the reef catchment have septic tanks and soakaways built underground in the
limestone rock. The sewage from these septic tanks soaks through the limestone rock in a process called per-
colation, and the sewage then enters the underground water table. Water is supplied to surface streams from the
underground water table and these surface streams drain into the Buccoo Reef.
Another source of nutrient input to the Buccoo Reef is from AGRICULTURE, including animal farms. Many
fertilizers used in agriculture contain nitrogen and phosphorous nutrients, and often not all of the nutrients are
absorbed by plants. The runoff from crop fields and from farms into streams in the Buccoo Reef catchment area
may also contribute to nutrient enrichment of Buccoo Reef.
Discussion:
What are some other likely sources of nutrients
into the Buccoo Reef?

Deforestation on the Main Ridge may cause soil erosion.


How might this be linked to increasing sediment levels
and turbidity in the Buccoo Reef?

Coral damage: the downside of tourism


Tourism in Buccoo Reef generates a large income for Tobago, however, tourism also comes with a price. One
of the activities associated with glass-bottom-boat tours of the Buccoo Reef is reef walking. Reef walking is a
practice where persons are allowed to come off of the tour boat and walk over the coral. This practice causes
significant damage to the reef as the coral – in most cases - is broken or crushed. Reef walking can also stir up
sediments and increase the turbidity of the water which is also detrimental for corals. The boats themselves
sometimes destroy the reefs when the bottoms of the boats drag against the coral: this is called boat grounding.
Studies have indicated that yacht and boat groundings are for broken and crushed corals. Coral damage can also
occur naturally as a result of wave action impacting the reefs. Improper placement of anchors also destroys
sections of the reef. In the next section we will look at measures to control these problems.

Corals get sick too


Coral diseases have the ability to destroy the coral polyps that build up the reefs. Although coral diseases
are natural phenomena, the susceptibility of coral to diseases is enhanced by disturbances such as pollution,
increased water temperatures or reef damage. White Band Disease Type 1, Type 2 and White pox disease are
three major diseases affecting corals in the Caribbean. 22 White Band Disease is characterized by uniform
bands of peeled-off tissue on corals. The bands can range from few millimetres to centimetres thick.
The alarming characteristic of this disease is that it spreads from the base to the tip of the coral at a rate
of 5mm per day. White Band Disease Type 1 affects elkhorn and staghorn corals, and is the only one known to
cause major changes in the composition and structure of reefs, and mortality of corals.

Box 5

22 Rosie E. Carr, “The Status of Elkhorn Coral, Acropora palmate in Southwest Tobago”, (Master’s Thesis Univ. of Newcastle upon Tyne, 2004).
23 S. O’Farrell and O. Day, “Report on the 2005 mass coral bleaching event in Tobago, Part 1: Results from Phase 1 Survey”, Coral Cay Conservation and Buccoo

Reef Trust, 2006.


Protecting Buccoo Reef
Many measures have been put in place to protect the reef from some of the problems described above. The
Tobago House of Assembly and a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and community-based
organisations (CBOs) have been making efforts since the early 1970s to improve management of the Buccoo
Reef. Some of these are described below.
The Buccoo Reef was formally protected in 1973 under the Marine Areas (Restricted Area)
Preservation and Enhancement Act of 1970. The Act gives the reef protection against some
activities like pollution of the reef, damage of the reef structure and illegal hunting of fish
and marine animals.
There are plans to establish the Buccoo Reef as a national park. As a national park the reef
would have greater protection against activities like pollution, disturbance to habitats, and
protection of coral and other threatened species like the hawksbill turtle.
Buccoo Reef is also protected under international agreements like the Ramsar Convention
on Wetlands, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES), and the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Protocol.
When the government signed on to these agreements, it became responsible for meeting the
requirements of the agreements.
Scientific research and monitoring of the reefs is a major activity ongoing in the Buccoo
Reef. NGOs and CBOs in Tobago play a major role in this activity. Scientific research can
help us to determine what is wrong with the reef and to provide solutions to problems.
Research will also enable us to act pro-actively to prevent damage to the reef. Monitoring
allows us to keep an eye on the health and state of the reef ecosystem.
To reduce the damage due to improper use of anchors the Buccoo Reef Trust, the
Department of Marine Resources and Fisheries of the THA and the Tobago Diving
Association embarked on a project to install reef demarcation buoys. The buoys will help
to prevent anchors being placed on the reef.
Reef walking is now prohibited on the reefs. Reef tour operators are trained before
becoming licensed tour operators. Part of the training includes general information on the
Buccoo Reef and avoiding actions that damage the reef like reef-walking. Reef walking is
also prohibited under the Marine Areas (Restricted Area) Order Preservation and
Enhancement Act of 1970.
Education and public outreach is a major part of protecting the reef. The THA, EMA, along
with NGOs and CBOs consider this a priority and are targeting users of the reef like local
residents, businessmen, developers, fishermen and reef tour operators and guides.
Education and public awareness are important for people to see how their actions may
enhance or degrade the Buccoo Reef Ecosystem, and also how the Buccoo Reef Ecosystem
is important to their livelihoods, culture and the environment.
Education of local residents is key because it reinforces a sense of ownership of the reef and
a greater responsibility for the reef.
Figure 6: The MA Conceptual Framework applied to the Buccoo Reef Ecosystem

The arrows represent the linkages


between the different components
of the framework
Suggested Fieldwork
(See Sampling Methodologies)
• Water quality testing – total suspended solids; turbidity; faecal coliform.
(See Guidelines for Learning Activities)
• Conducting surveys to obtain information on how people value and appreciate the Buccoo Reef.

Suggested Activities to help understand issues


Five Whys
An example of how the Five Whys exercise can be used is provided below.
For more information on the Five Whys exercise refer to Guidelines for Learning Activities.

Note that this example is oversimplified, and in reality issues tend to have multiple causes. This activity should
be repeated to include a variety of answers for ‘Whys’- this can help students to appreciate the multitude of
complex factors surrounding any one issue.

Leopold Matrix
An example of how the Leopold Matrix can be used is provided below.
For more information on the Leopold Matrix refer to Guidelines for Learning Activities.
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APPENDIX A: Scientific names of plants and animals mentioned in the text

Banded coral shrimp Stenopus hispidus


Bluestriped grunt Haemulon sciurus
Blue tang Paracanthurus hepatus
Brain coral Colpophyllia spp.; Diploria spp.
Caribbean reef squid Sepioteuthis sepioidea
Christmas tree worm Spirobranchus giganteus
Creole wrasse Clepticus parrae
Elkhorn coral Acropora palmata
Fire coral Millepora spp.
Finger coral Porites porites
Four-eye butterflyfish Chaetodon capistratus
Green alga Halimeda spp.
Hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata
Macroalgae Bryopsis spp.; Dictyota spp.; Chaetomorpha spp.
Molluscs Phylum Mollusca
Oysters Pinctada radiata
Striped parrot fish Scarus iserti
Queen angelfish Holacanthus ciliaris
Sea fan Gorgonia ventalina
Sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus
Spotted moray Gymnothorax moringa
Staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis
Starlet coral Siderastrea siderea
Star coral Montastrea cavernosa; Montastrea annularis
Turtle grass Thalassia testudinum
Yellow tube sponge Aplysina fistularis
Zooxanthellae Symbiodinium microadriaticum
APPENDIX B: Acronyms used in the case study

CANARI Caribbean Natural Resources Institute


CBO community based organisation
CITES Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora
and Fauna
EMA Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago
FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
GDP gross domestic product
IMA Institute of Marine Affairs
MA Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
NGO non-governmental organisation
SPAW Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife
THA Tobago House of Assembly
UWI University of the West Indies

APPENDIX C: Glossary of terms used in the case study

Algae Primitive non-flowering photosynthetic plant of a large assemblage that includes


mainly aquatic forms like seaweed and plankton.

Anemone A cnidarian of the class Anthozoa that possesses a flexible cylindrical body and a
central mouth surrounded by tentacles.

Annelid Belonging to the phylum Annelida, and comprises the segmented worms, and
includes earthworms, leeches, and a number of marine and freshwater species.

Ascidians A solitary or colonial sea squirt of the phylum Chordata, class Ascidiacea.

Biodiversity The variability among living organisms from all sources: terrestrial, marine, and
other aquatic ecosystems, as well as the ecological complexes of which they are a
part.

Black corals Colonial cnidarians in the Order Antipatharia. They are found throughout the
world’s oceans, but are most common in tropical deep water habitats from
30-80 m depth. These species of black coral have rigid, erect skeletons that form
branched, bush-like colonies.

Cnidaria A phylum containing over 9,000 species of animals found exclusively in aquatic
mostly marine environments. Includes sea anemones, corals and jelly fish.
Coralline beach A beach where instead of sand bits of coral of various sizes covers the shore.

Coral polyp Soft-bodied, tubular-shaped, invertebrate animals that grow to a length and height
between 3mm and 56mm.

Crustacean A subphylum of Arthropoda that includes shrimp, mantis shrimp, lobsters, crabs,
water fleas, copepods, crayfish and wood lice. There are almost 40,000 described
species of crustaceans.

Dead zone A part of a water body so low in oxygen that normal life cannot survive.
The low oxygen conditions usually result from eutrophication caused by fertilizer
runoff from land.

Driver Any natural or human induced factor that directly or indirectly causes a change in
an ecosystem.

Echinoderms Belonging to the animal phylum Echinodermata that contains starfishes,


sea cucumbers, sand dollars, brittlestars, basket stars, sea lilies, feather stars, and
sea urchins.

Ecosystem Dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their
non-living environment interacting as a functional unit.

Ecosystem services The benefits people obtain from ecosystems. These include provisioning services
such as food and water; cultural services such as spiritual, recreational, and
cultural benefits; and regulating and supporting services such as flood and disease
control; nutrient cycling that maintain the conditions for life on Earth.
The concept of “ecosystem goods and services” is synonymous with ecosystem
services.

Eutrophication Eutrophication occurs when there is an over accumulation of nutrients like


nitrogen and phosphorous in an ecosystem, causing changes to the ecosystem.

Gorgonians An anthozoan of the subclass Octocorallia, commonly called sea fans and sea
whips.

Holocene 10,000 years ago to present.

Horny corals Coral species in the order Gorgonacea that embeds calcium carbonate in a
semi-soft, flexible material called keratin. This allows for the flexibility sea fans
and sea whips require to survive in strong currents.

Hydrozoan Belonging to the class Hydrozoa within the phylum Cnidaria. The Hydrozoa
contains five orders that include: small medusae with no polyp generation;
colonial forms with alternating polyp and medusa stages and a chitinous
exoskeleton; solitary polyps that lack a medusoid stage; colonial forms with
massive aragonite skeletons (e.g., fire coral); and complex colonial forms,
with individual polyps specialized for feeding, swimming, prey capture,
and reproduction.

Livelihood Means of living or supporting oneself.

Macroalgae Algae that project more than one centimetre above the substratum.

Mangrove Evergreen trees and shrubs that grow in dense thickets or forests along tidal
estuaries, in salt marshes, and on muddy coasts in the tropics and subtropics.
The name also refers to the vegetal communities formed by these plants.

Pleistocene 1.8 million to 10,000 years ago.

Reef catchment The reef catchment is the entire area that is considered to be part of the reef.
The catchment also includes areas surrounding the reef that have a direct impact
on the reef. In the case of Buccoo Reef, the catchment would include the reef
itself, the mangrove wetlands, the Bon Accord Lagoon, and areas of the coast
adjacent to the reef.

Seagrass A flowering plant, complete with leaves, a rhizome (an underground, usually
horizontally-oriented stem) and a root system. They are found in marine or
estuarine waters. Most seagrass species are located in soft sediments. However,
some species are attached directly to rocks with root hair adhesion. Seagrasses
tend to develop extensive underwater meadows.

Sponges Belonging to the phylum Porifera. There are approximately 5,000 living species
classified in three distinct groups, the Hexactinellida (glass sponges),
the Demospongia, and the Calcarea (calcareous sponges).

Stony corals A coral in the anthozoan order Scleractinia, also known as the hard corals.
These organisms possess a hard external calcareous skeleton.

Symbiotic relationship A relationship between two species that appears necessary and inseparable.

Wave resistant Can buffer the impact of waves. However, most materials are not completely
wave resistant and will eventually degrade with time.

Well-being The extent to which the basic material for a good life, freedom of choice, health,
good social relations, security, peace of mind, and spiritual experience are
satisfied.

Zoanthids An anemone of the family Zoanthidae, usually found in intertidal areas and coral
reefs. In some species the polyps separate from each other almost completely after
budding, while in other species, the polyps are all interconnected by a common
THE CROPPER FOUNDATION

C
Chaguaramas peninsula
p
In this case study:
Chaguaramas Peninsula
Dr. Mary Alkins-Koo of the Life Sciences Department of the University of the West Indies developed case
studies for use in courses at the University. Among these was a case study on the Chaguaramas Peninsula.
The following sections draw heavily on the information from her case study on the Chaguaramas Peninsula.1
Background
The Chaguaramas Peninsula is situated on the north-western end of Trinidad. The Peninsula forms the western
end of the Northern Range, and includes the mainland of Trinidad as well Monos, Huevos and Chacachacare
Islands. Other offshore islands – Gaspar Grande, Diego and Five Islands – are not considered as part of the
Peninsula, but will be included in this study. (See figure 1: Map of Chaguaramas Peninsula).

The location of the Peninsula and offshore islands make them a hotspot for activities that are influenced by both
local and international processes (See figure 2: Local and Regional processes impacting on Chaguaramas
Peninsula).

Chaguaramas Peninsula

Figure 1: Map of Chaguaramas Peninsula


Source: Ordnance Survey Map (undated)
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! Figure 2: Local and Regional Processes impacting on Chaguaramas Peninsula (Dept. of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies,
Source: Alking-Koo (2008) 2003-2007).
History • During World War II, the Peninsula was leased
by the British government to the U.S. for use as
• The Chaguaramas Peninsula has a strategic local
a major naval base and all landowners were
and regional location that has made it a focus for
displaced. Many changes were made; bays were
many civil and military uses. Amerindian sites
dredged, land was filled, and infrastructure such as
dating back to 100 to 700 A.D. can be found on
administrative and residential buildings,
Chacachacare Island and the name “Chaguaramas”
ammunition bunkers, roads and drainage were
is of Amerindian origin meaning “palms”.
constructed. American military facilities included
• Columbus was reported to have anchored off a naval air station at Carenage Bay, an Omega
Chacachacare Bay on his third voyage in 1498. submarine tracking station in Chaguaramas Valley
and a submarine station at Scotland Bay.
• Remnants of fortifications built by the Spanish and The Peninsula was returned to Trinidad & Tobago
British between 1796 and 1805 can be found at in 1971.
Point Gourde and Gaspar Grande. Admiral
Apodaca’s fleet of ships, scuttled off Point Gourde • The Chaguaramas Peninsula, offshore islands
in the British invasion in 1797, still remains in (Gaspar Grande, Gasparillo, Monos, Huevos, and
Chaguaramas Bay. Chacachacare) and nearshore coastal waters were
declared a National Park in 1974 and have since
• The good agricultural lands of Tucker Valley were been managed by the Chaguaramas Development
used as a sugar plantation in the late 18th century Authority.
and later planted with cocoa, coffee and citrus for
export. Cotton and citrus were grown on With a large range of activities, processes and ecologi-
Chacachacare. cal features, associated with Chaguaramas Peninsula,
a number of case studies could be undertaken on the
• The offshore islands and some areas of the area. This case study is presented in two parts.
peninsula were private holiday homes from as
early as the mid-1800s. Of note, the Five Islands, Part A will look at biodiversity and ecosystems of
notably Nelson Island, served as a depot where the Chaguaramas Peninsula; and part B will focus on
all East Indian indentured immigrants were recreational activities undertaken on the Peninsula.
quarantined until they were assigned to a
plantation. Almost 150,000 persons, ancestors of
50% of the population of Trinidad, spent their first
days on these islands.

• Up to the 1930s many of the bays supported


small fishing communities. Whaling was also
conducted in the Bocas during the 19th century
and there were at least four whaling stations on the
islands of Gaspar Grande, Monos and Chacacha
are. A Leprosarium, run by Dominican sisters,
was established on Chacachacare in 1924 and
finally closed in 1984.
Chaguaramas Peninsula: Case Study A
Ecosystems & Biodiversity
Between 2003 and 2004, a study of the Northern Range of Trinidad was undertaken to assess the contribution
of ecosystem services to human well-being. This assessment was part of a larger global ecosystem assessment
called the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. This assessment is used as the Environmental Management
Authority’s (EMA) State of Environment Report 2004. Several excerpts are drawn from this report and used in
Case Study A. 2

The Chaguaramas Peninsula supports terrestrial and marine ecosystems on different areas of the Peninsula.
Although the Peninsula represents a geographically small area of about 5,900 hectares, there are notable differ-
ences in the abiotic conditions that some areas experience. The western parts of the Peninsula tend to be drier
than the eastern parts because of the “rain-shadow” effect that is experienced. [See Figure 3: Isohyetal map of
Trinidad and figure 4: Rain shadow effect]. The differences in rainfall amount lead to the formation of different
types of forest ecosystems. These are described below.

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!Figure 3: Isohyetal map of Trinidad Source: Piarco Meterological Office in NRA (2005)

! Fig 4: Rain shadow effect

Terrestrial Ecosystems: Forests


Four major forest ecosystems include semi-evergreen seasonal forest, deciduous seasonal forest, dry evergreen
forest and montane forest. The forest ecosystems are important for:
• Protection of slopes against soil erosion. Over 70% of Chaguaramas comprises steep slopes.
If the forests on the slopes are removed, the underlying soils will be subjected to severe erosion.
2
Northern Range Assessment (NRA). Report of an Assessment of the Northern Range, Trinidad and Tobago: People and the Northern Range. (State of the Environment
Report 2004. Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, 2005).
• The process of groundwater recharge in the Tucker Valley and Chaguaramas river Valley is dependant
on the maintenance of forest cover. All of the water that is currently used in Chaguaramas is provided by
wells in Tucker Valley. The importance of this water source cannot be underestimated.
• The forests provide habitats for a wide diversity of mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and insects.

Semi-evergreen seasonal forest


This is the main forest type in Chaguaramas and it is found on the steep upland areas of the Chaguaramas main-
land. The dominant plant association is the purpleheart-incense-poui. Additional associations include purple-
heart-bois lissette, acurel-moussara-jiggerwood, acurel-gommier and moussara-figuier. Other species found here
include balata, cedar, Cypre, locust and poui.

Excerpt from the EMA State of Environment Report 2004


Semi-evergreen seasonal forest shows physical changes during the dry season with some of the upper canopy
trees being deciduous (on average about one-third of the species) while most understorey species remain ever-
green where moisture conditions are more favorable. This forest type occurs in drier areas where annual rainfall
averages around 1,800mm. Mature trees branch lower on the main stem, between 6m and 9m, than do similar
sized trees in seasonal evergreen forest where branching begins around 15m. Buttressing is not a prominent
feature in semi-evergreen forest. This is mainly a near-coastal forest type in Trinidad’s north-west peninsula,
and north and north-east coasts, but it can also be found on the south-western flanks of the Northern Range.

Deciduous seasonal forest


This type of forest exists on lower areas of the Chaguaramas mainland and particularly on Pt. Gourde and the
offshore islands. The main plant association is Naked Indian-incense-poui ecotone. This association shares
similarities with those on the South-American mainland, but is not present in other areas of Trinidad. This is not
surprising as the Northern Range is the continuation the Coastal Cordillera of Venezuela and was once attached
to the South American mainland.

Excerpt from the EMA State of Environment Report 2004


The deciduous seasonal forest is found on the lower slopes of the Northwest Peninsula and on the Gulf islands.
This is the driest forest found in Trinidad where annual rainfall rarely exceeds 1,250mm. This results in an open,
low canopy forest of small trees, with emergents, often with smaller leaves, barely reaching 20m in height.
Common trees in the emergent layer are saltfishwood, yellow savonette, and incense while in the understorey,
yellow poui, wild tamarind and wild guava are abundant. The character of the vegetation reflects the drier con-
dition that prevails. Most trees shed their leaves in the dry season while the evergreen component tends to have
small leathery leaves. Deciduous seasonal forest is confined to areas in the Northern Range such as the offshore
islands, Pointe Gourde, and lower slopes of the north-west peninsula.

Dry evergreen forest (Littoral forest)


This forest-type is found along the shores of the mainland and the offshore islands. The main plant associations
are seagrape-manchineel and Palmiste-balata.

Excerpt from the EMA State of Environment Report 2004


This forest type occurs behind beaches, along cliffs and headlands and shows the ravages of coastal exposure
with wind-trimming and stunted growth on the seaward side. The vegetation is dense – almost impenetrable –
and lianas are sometimes well established. The evergreen vegetation displays salt spray adaptations with thick,
leathery cutinized leaves and is present along the north-east coast. Cacti and century plant (Agave evadens) are
also common.
Montane forest
The plant association found here is serrette-bois gris (lower).

Excerpt from the EMA State of Environment Report 2004


Montane forests include all the natural forest cover above the 240m contour line in the Northern Range and
can be further subdivided into lower montane, seasonal montane, montane, and elfin woodland. In moving
from lower to higher elevations, temperatures decrease and moisture levels increase. Rainfall levels in montane
forests can be as much as 400cm per annum above the 760m contour line. Lower montane, montane, and elfin
woodland occur on schist soil while seasonal montane is found on limestone above 450m

Activity
What features do littoral vegetation-types possess to withstand the strong winds,
sea-spray and sometimes dry conditions associated with coasts? Compare these features,
such as leaf characteristics, with semi-evergreen seasonal forest vegetation, and suggest
reasons why the biodiversity associated with these two vegetation types may be different.

Biodiversity: Wildlife
This section is adapted from the case study on Chaguaramas Peninsula by Dr. Mary Alkins-Koo.

The vertebrate fauna of Chaguaramas includes approximately 90 species of birds, 17 species of reptiles and 11
species of mammals including the red howler monkey, deer, tayra and ocelot. The fishing bat, Noctilio, can be
seen regularly foraging along the coastline at night. The terrestrial arthropod fauna includes remarkably large
millipedes and centipedes (up to 30 cm long) on the offshore islands (hence the local name for Gasparillo
“Centipede Island”).

During the latter half of the 18th century there was a thriving whaling industry in Chaguaramas. There were
whaling stations at Chacachacare, Gaspar Grand and Monos islands. The whales that were targeted in the
whaling industry are thought to be humpback whales although pilot whales also occasionally occurred in
the area. Dolphins are seen regularly around boats moving between the offshore islands.

Coastal Ecosystems and Communities


This section is adapted from the case study on Chaguaramas Peninsula by Dr. Mary Alkins-Koo, with additional
information from the EMA State of the Environment Report 2004.

Coastal ecosystems surround the Chaguaramas Peninsula including the smaller islands adjacent to the pen-
insula. These ecosystems include beaches, seagrass beds and coral reefs. As with other coastal areas around
Trinidad, the marine conditions and communities are influenced by the seasonal freshwater outflow from the
mainland and local rivers during the wet season. Shallow water coastal communities include:
• Patch reefs dominated by finger coral, Porites. Small fringe reefs are found around the Five Islands,
Monos and Chacachacare; these develop in areas that are shallow, have regular flushing so that the water
is circulated, and little surf. Notably, there are “deep-water” coral communities found at relatively
shallow depths (e.g. 25 m) because of the low transparency of these waters as compared with the clear
“blue” waters elsewhere in the Caribbean. These communities include ivory coral, non-reef building
corals and black corals.
• Rocky substrates covered with an assortment of hydroids and sponges.
• Sand and mud substrates with seagrass beds. Seagrass beds are major primary producers in the marine
environment and form the foundation of many food chains. They provide habitats and nurseries for
many of the fish species that we consume such as snappers, croakers, grunts, groupers, sea breams,
cirrique crabs, lobsters and shrimp. Seagrass beds also help to stabilize bottom sediments and are
important sources and sinks for nutrients. Extensive seagrass beds are found at Williams Bay.
In the past, seagrass beds were also found in Scotland Bay, Monos Island and Five Islands, however,
human activities have impacted negatively on the beds. Seagrass beds are disturbed by anchoring of
boats, boat propellers, heat and oil pollution and the release of excessive organic materials like sewage.
• Chacachacare salt pond - an inland coastal lagoon on Chacachacare Island which attains salinities of
more than 3 to 4 times that of sea water because of low rainfall and high evaporation rates. Few aquatic
organisms can survive under these conditions and only bacteria, fly larvae (Ephyridae) and water bugs
(Corixidae) can be found.

An extensive list of fauna, flora, birds, insects, reptiles and marine organisms found in Chaguaramas is provided
by the CDA, and can be accessed at http://www.chagdev.com/Pages/Chag-WildLife-main.htm

Activity
Produce an informative poster identifying the major terrestrial and marine ecosystems of
the Chaguaramas National Park. For each ecosystem, explain at least one way in which it
contributes to people’s well-being e.g. recreational value, provision of freshwater resources.
Research and produce a species account for one key species of plant or animal found in the
Chaguaramas National Park. It may be terrestrial or marine. Include in your account its sci-
entific and common names; its geographic range globally, in the Caribbean and within Trini-
dad and Tobago; features of its biology such as size, appearance, natural habitats, nutrition/
diet, reproduction, life history, value to humans, and highlight any feature that you found
particularly remarkable or interesting. The class can build a booklet of species accounts of
local flora and fauna over a period of years. Check the Naparima Girls Cyberfair webpage
for an example of a project on local places
http://www.moe.gov.tt/cyberfair/websites08/Secondary/naparimagirls/home.html
Chaguaramas Peninsula: Case Study B
Recreational activities in the Chaguaramas Peninsula have seen notable increases over the last decade. This has
been largely due to Chaguaramas Development Authority’s (CDA) efforts to promote tourism of the area, and
increase interest of Trinidad as a hotspot for yachters in the Caribbean region.

A Brief look at the CDA


The CDA is a statutory government agency established by an act of parliament in 1972 to admin-
ister and coordinate the development of the North-west peninsula in a manner which meets the
requirements of the Town and Country Planning Act (Chap 35:01). While this purpose does sound
a bit nebulous, a master plan for development has been put forward which outlines more specific
objectives. The one we currently use is the first master plan which was approved (made law) in
1974. Since then a number of reviews of the 1974 master plan have been undertaken with the aim
of developing a more current version – no such plan yet exists. The hierarchical structure of these
plans developed by CDA is shown below.

It is useful to consider why there has been


no approved development plan since 1974.
More information on these plans is available
on the CDA’s website, http://www.chagdev.com/

Sea bathing
The Chaguaramas Peninsula is quite popular for its beaches.
Public transport to these beaches is available from Port of
Spain, and the beaches are frequented every day of the week,
with notable increases in the numbers of sea bathers on the
weekend. With the exception of Macqueripe Beach, all of
the beaches are influenced by the Gulf of Paria and share its
characteristic slow currents. The beaches are also shallow
with wide inter-tidal flats making them ideal spots for bathing.

Many of these beaches however, through poor management


of waste disposal and runoff from land- and water-based
activities, coupled with the oceanographic conditions of
the area are polluted with sewage, solid waste and chemical Figure
! 5: Bathymetrical chart of the north Gulf of Paria
pollutants. Source: Hoyte (1986)
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Figure 6: Popular bathing beaches at Chaguaramas Peninsula Adapted from: Alking-Koo (2008)
!
Improper waste management
Possible sources of pollution include:
• Discharge from broken sewer lines on land that contaminate nearshore waters of the beach via seepage
into the underground natural drainage system.
• Discharge from a sewer line that runs across the sea bed of Welcome Bay to Point Gourde. This line was
found to be a source of pollution in Welcome Bay in the 1980s.
• Wastewater from sewage tanks at compounds near to the beach or near to rivers that flow into the beach.
For example the Cuesa River drains the Tucker Valley and empties in the northeast end of Chagville
Beach. This is important to note as large mega-farms which use fertilizers are located in Tucker Valley.
• Kitchen wastewater from nearby compounds, such as nightclubs.
• Rubbish left by people visiting the beaches.
• Pollutants from industrial and recreational activities (haulout yards and marinas) along the shore of
Chaguaramas bay. These pollutants include heavy metals such as copper, lead, zinc and mercury, and
harmful compounds like tributyltin (TBT).
Activity and Discussion:
Oceanographic conditions What are some of the effects of these
• Flushing of the water in most of the bays is pollutants on human health?
poor because of low current speeds, so that
pollutants can settle in the bay. Is it possible to have these in low amounts
• Currents run north-east to south-west along and still have a safe beach?
Chagville Beach and turn south near Pointe Gourde.
The current causes debris to collect along the coast from Chagville Westwards with the largest amounts
being swept into Welcome Bay and deposited in the north-western corner of the bay.
• Currents also take solid waste around to Scotland Bay. 3
• The Chaguaramas area is also subject to oil and (diesel) spills occurring in other areas of the Gulf of
Paria, because of the prevailing currents. A noteworthy example of this is an oil spill which occurred in
Sea Lots (south of Port of Spain) in September 2000 and caused damage to yachts in the Chaguaramas
area.

Activity: Measure faecal coliform levels at Welcome Bay and Macqueripe Bay. How do these
compare? Does the oceanography of each area have anything to do with these differences?
3
P.E. Norman. Report of a Bacteriological Survey on Welcome Bay and Chagville Beach Chaguarmas. 1982.
Chaguaramas National Park
The Chaguaramas Peninsula was designated a National Heritage Park in 1975 with the objectives of:
• Conservation and protection of biodiversity such as the red howler monkey;
• Preservation of ecological, historical and archaeological resources.
Areas above the 60m contour line are considered to be within the national park, which is about 80% of the
Chaguaramas Peninsula. There are provisions for special activities in the area such as agriculture in Tucker
Valley and hunting of wildlife is prohibited. It is unclear from current information sources whether any national
legislation exists to guide the national park.

National parks or protected areas are large natural or near natural areas set aside to protect
large-scale ecological processes, along with the complement of species and ecosystems
characteristic of the area, which also provide a foundation for environmentally and
culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor
opportunities. The primary objective of the national park is to protect natural
biodiversity along with its underlying ecological structure and supporting
environmental processes, and to promote education and recreation. 4

The Chaguaramas National Park promotes recreational activities which include:


• Hikes/ Nature Trails – guided tours are available to waterfalls like Edith Falls; to ecological wonders
such as Gasparee Caves and the Chacachacare salt pond; and archaeological sites like Huggins Ruins
and Lumber Lane.
• Golf course located in Tucker Valley.

! Figure 7: Chaguaramas Conservation Areas Adapted from: Caribbean Forest Association (1996)

Discussion:
4 Does Chaguaramas National Park comply with
IUCN.Guidelines for Protected Areas Management Categories.
the definition of an IUCN National Park?
(IUCN, Cambridge, UK and Gland, Switzerland, 1994), 261.
Night Clubs
A number of nightclubs and restaurants are situated on the Chaguaramas Peninsula. Some of these include:
Pier 1, MoBS2, The Lure, Anchorage, The Lighthouse and Sails. This type of recreational activity is not without
its share of problems. Traffic congestion is a major problem that arises when major events are held in Chaguara-
mas Peninsula; this is prevalent during the carnival season (January to March) when events are held simultane-
ously at different nightclubs. Waste discharge – sewage and grey water – is a potential problem with all of these
activities concentrated in the small area.

Marinas
Information for this section is drawn from a report that was produced by the Economic Commission for Latin
America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in 2002 as part of a larger project to develop a regional marine-based
tourism strategy. 5

It is only within the last 15 years that Chaguaramas began to develop a thriving yachting sector. The number
of yacht arrivals at Chaguaramas increased by five times from 1990 to 2000 (See Figure 8). This increase in
yacht arrivals has seen both benefits and drawbacks for Chaguaramas. Before looking at the benefits and
drawbacks, let us consider some important questions:
- What makes Chaguaramas attractive to yachters?
- What activities are associated with yachting?
- Where in Chaguaramas do yachting activities occur?

3500
Number of Yach Arrivals

3000
2500
2000
1500
Figure 8: Number of yacht arrivals
1000 to Chaguaramas from 1990 to 2001
500
Source: ECLAC (2002)
0
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
00
01
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
20
20

Year
5
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Trinidad and Tobago: The Yachting Sector. (Development of a Regional Marine-based Tourism
! Strategy, 2002).
What makes Chaguaramas attractive to yachters?

- Location below the restricted or costly hurricane insurance boundary of 12o40’ North.
- Low cost of living compared with the other islands in the eastern Caribbean.
- Relatively well skilled labour force derived from an industrial background and synergies with the oil
sector.
- Private sector initiatives in plant and equipment and the consequent availability of a wide range
(and concentration) of services.
- Supportive policies by the Customs and Excise and Immigration departments and by TDC.
- Efficient system for boats to import parts duty- and VAT- free.
- Competitive price levels for yachting services.
- Events like Carnival.

What activities are associated with yachting in Chaguaramas?


- Charter boat companies rent pirogues for trips down to the islands off the peninsula,
or boats are rented to host parties.
- Marinas: yacht storage; maintenance.
- Marine services: sail making, engine repair, marine electronics and out-haul facilities.

Where in Chaguaramas do yachting activities occur?


Benefits
One of the major benefits of the yachting industry in Chaguarmas is its contribution to national GDP.
The contribution can be divided into direct and indirect contributions:
1. Direct contributions come from the expenditure of the yachters for the purchase of yacht materials,
for repair services, for mooring permits, and for the purchase of food and personal items.
2. Indirect contributions come from the purchase of goods and services by the establishments and
employees that are direct recipients of the yachter’s expenditures. These establishments include marinas
and marine service stores.
Although the yachting industry does contribute to national GDP, it is not recognised as a sector in the sense
of national accounting or among national revenue-contributing activities. Another benefit is the employment
that is provided through the yachting industry. For example many local persons are hired as repairmen, sales
clerks, and food providers.

Drawbacks
The yachting industry in Chaguaramas has come under heavy criticism as a source of heavy metal, sewage
and solid waste pollution. What is still largely unclear are the contributions that the yachting industry makes in
Chaguaramas because there are so many other activities occurring in Chaguaramas which could all be potential
sources of pollution. For example the CL Marine Dry dock located in the northwest area of Chaguarmas Bay
is a potential source of heavy metal pollution; mega-farms in Tucker Valley are a potential source of chemical
pollution because runoff from the farms drain into the Cuesa River which drains into Chagville Bay; improper
functioning sewage plants onshore can release sewage into nearshore areas.
In light of the criticism of being a major source of pollution, the Yacht Services Association of Trinidad and
Tobago (YSATT) has adopted a policy for solid waste management at the yards and marinas.
This policy is outlined in the table below.
Table 1: Waste disposal policy adopted by YSATT. 6
Waste Type Waste Container Method of Comment/
Type Removal Disposal Method
Recyclables
Glass Carib glass eco bin Remove/ replace Recycled at Carib
bin Glassworks
Paper Poly-bag shredded Remove bag Recycled at various
paper recyclers
Steel/ Iron -- -- Company may sell
externally
Wood General container General bin --
Organic waste General container General bin
Box General container General bin --
Liquid hazardous waste
Waste oils Tank/ drum Suction High temp.
incineration
Others Drum Drum removal High temp.
incineration drum
disposal
Solid hazardous waste
Filters Fixed drum with Poly bag removal High temp
poly bag and cover incineration
Batteries N/A N/A Recycle into new
batteries
Plastics/ paint cans General container General bin Recycled at Pirahna
International
Limited
Oily rags Fixed drum/ poly Poly bag removal High temp
bag and cover incineration
Fluorescent light Unbroken in box or Box removal Cement
bulbs wrapped in card encapsulation prior
board to bury in specific 6
ECLAC 2002
landfill
Activity
Make an inventory of the waste produced by one land- or water-based activity that takes place
at Chaguaramas which you have observed/studied. Research the best practices for disposal
of these wastes. Develop a detailed waste disposal plan for this activity. Include use of
alternative materials or processes if identified wastes cannot be disposed of safely.

Investigate the ways in which one major waste product or activity can affect the biodiversity
of the Chaguaramas area. You can consider one of a range of potential pollutants (chemicals,
sewage, noise from fetes) or activities associated with recreation (nightclubs, boating,
hiking), agriculture (megafarms) or commerce/industry (marinas, boatyards).
Biodiversity can be considered at the ecosystem level (e.g. eutrophication), species
level (habitat fragmentation on populations of wildlife), or individual level
(effect of heavy metal pollution on an organism).

Bibliography
Alkins-Koo, M and J.S. Kenny.1980. De Verteuil, Anthony. 2003. Western Isles of
A Baseline Survey of Scotland Bay, Trinidad. Trinidad. Port of Spain, Trinidad: Litho Press
Institute of Marine Affairs.
Economic Commission for Latin America and the
Alkins-Koo, Mary. 2005. Case Study - Chaguaramas Caribbean (ECLAC). 2002. Trinidad and Tobago:
Peninsula. BIOL 2461, Dept. of Life Sciences, The Yachting Sector. Development of a Regional
University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Marine-based Tourism Strategy.
Trinidad and Tobago.
EMA. 1998. Trinidad and Tobago State of the
Alkins-Koo, Mary. 2008. Chaguaramas Peninsula Environment Report 1998. Environmental Manage-
Background. Presentation to St. Mary’s College. ment Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.

Bullock, Christine Ann and Indar Moonesar. 2005. Fowler, H.W. and F.G. Fowler. 1991.
Potential sources of bacteriological pollution for two The Concise Oxford Dictionary. Ed. R.E. Allen.
bays with marinas in Trinidad. International Journal Oxford: Claredon Press.
of Tropical Biology and Conservation 53 (1).
Hoyte, P.Y. 1986. A preliminary description of
Campo Roberts, Gill. 1991. Inventory of the currents in the near shore waters of the Gulf of Paria
Indigenous Forest of Chaguaramas Peninsula. - Diego Martin to Port of Spain coastal area.
Prepared for the Chaguaramas Development Agency. Technical report, Institute of Marine Affairs,
Trinidad and Tobago, p.319.
Caribbean Forest Conservation Association. 1996.
Report on National Parks and Protected Areas IUCN.1994. Guidelines for Protected Areas
Design Site Prioritisation. Government of the Management Categories. IUCN, Cambridge,
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago National Parks UK and Gland, Switzerland. 261pp.
and Watershed Management Project.
James, Lisa, Susan Shurland Maharaj and Roget
Bibby. 2001. A Socioeconomic Assessment of
Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA).
Yachting Activities in the North West Peninsula
http://www.chagdev.com/ (accessed 25th June, 2009).
of Trinidad. Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA).
Mangal, Erin. 2008. Report on Commercial Fisheries Ordnance Survey Map, Land and Surveys Division,
within the Gulf of Paria and the Impacts of Proposed Trinidad.
Port Development Activities on Fisheries in the
Claxton Bay Area. Rapid Environmental Shurland-Maharaj, Susan and Lisa James. A Safe
Assessments Ltd. Haven: History and Growth of the Yachting Industry
in Chaguaramas. Trinidad Guardian, June 28.
Ministry of Planning and Mobilization Town and
Country Planning Division. 1988. Planning for The Cropper Foundation (TCF). 2009. Sustainable
development: Chaguaramas Development Plan. Development Terms and Concepts: A Reference for
Teachers and Students. Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Norman, P.E. 1982. Report of a Bacteriological
Survey on Welcome Bay and Chagville Beach
Chaguarmas.

Northern Range Assessment (NRA). 2005. Report of


an Assessment of the Northern Range, Trinidad and
Tobago: People and the Northern Range. State of the
Environment Report 2004. Environmental Manage-
ment Authority of Trinidad and Tobago. 184pp.

APPENDIX A: Acronyms used in this case study

CDA Chaguaramas Development Authority


ECLAC Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
GDP Gross domestic product
IMA Institute of Marine Affairs
IUCN World Conservation Union
TDC Tourism Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago
TBT Tributyltin
YSATT Yacht Services Association of Trinidad and Tobago
APPENDIX B: Glossary of terms used in the case study

Abiotic Without life. The abiotic elements of an ecosystem constitute its climatic,
geological and pedologic (soil) components.

Bathymetry The study of underwater depth

Biodiversity The variability among living organisms from all sources: terrestrial, marine and other
aquatic ecosystems, as well as the ecological complexes of which they are part.
Biodiversity includes diversity within and among species (genetic and species diversity)
and diversity within and among ecosystems (ecosystem diversity).

Ecosystem Dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living
environment interacting as a functional unit.

Gross domestic The market value of all final good and services produced within a given country in a
product (GDP) given period of time. Final goods are those that are consumed rather than used to make
another product. For example a car is a final good.

Littoral Of or on the shore of the sea or lake

Plant association A group of plants that live together in a geographical region and constitute a community
with a few dominant species.

Peninsula A piece of land almost surrounded by water or projecting far into a sea or lake.

Sea bream Bream is a general term for a number of species of freshwater and marine fish.

APPENDIX C: Plants included in this case study

Common name Scientific name Common name Scientific name


Acurel Trichilia smithii Locust Hymenaea courbaril
Balata Manilkara bidentata Manchineel Hippomane mancinella
Bois gris Licania ternatensis Moussara Brosimum alicastrum
Bois Lissette Mouriri marshalii Naked Indian Bursera simaruba
Cedar Cedrela odorata Poui Tabebuia serratifolia
Cypre Cordia alliodora Purpleheart Peltogyne porphyrocardia
Figuier Ficus yoponensis Seagrape Coccoloba uvifera
Gommier Protium insigne Serrette Brysonima coriacea
Tapirira guianensis Wild guava Psidium friedrichsthalianum
Incense Lonchocarpus sp. Wild tamarind Lysiloma latisiliqua
Jiggerwood Bravaisia integerrima Yellow savonette Lonchocarpus punctatus
APPENDIX C: Animals included in this case study

Common name Scientific name


Black coral Antipathidae (family)
Cirrique crab Callinectes sp.
Croakers Sciaenidae (family)
Deer Mazama sp.
Finger coral Porites porites
Fishing bat Noctilio sp.
Fly larvae Ephyridae (family)
Groupers Epinephelus (subfamily)
Grunts Haemulidae (family)
Ivory coral Ramariopsis kunzei
Ocelot Felis pardalis
Red howler monkey Alouatta seniculus insularis
Snappers Lutjanidae (family)
Tayra Eira barbara
Water bugs Corixidae (family)
THE CROPPER FOUNDATION

Nc
NORTH Caroni Plains

In this case study:


Section 1
Location & Topography
The North Caroni Plains lie on the floodplain of the Caroni River and comprise an area of about 251 km2.
It is bounded to the north by the Eastern Main Road at the foothills of the Northern range; to the south by the
Caroni River; to the east by the Aripo River; and to the west by the San Juan River. The topography is generally
flat to undulating, rising to 30 to 50 metres above sea level at the foothills of the Northern Range.

North Caroni Plains

!Figure 1: Map showing the boundaries of North Caroni Plains in yellow Source: Land & Surveys Dept. (1946)
Drainage Area & Water
Resources
The North Caroni Plains form part of
the Caroni River Basin. [Figure 2]
The Basin is situated in the northwest-
ern section of Trinidad between the
Northern Range and Central Range
and comprises an area of 883.4 km2
equivalent to 22% of the Trinidad’s
land surface.1 The Caroni River is the
major river system within the Caroni
Basin and has a catchment area of
about 600km2. 2 The river drains the
Northern and Central ranges to the
west through the Caroni Swamp and
into the Gulf of Paria. Nathai-Gyan and
Juman (2005) suggests that the major
part of the Caroni River water supply
comes from perennial tributaries of the
Northern and Central Ranges, with the
major contribution from the 12 rivers
that drain from the Northern Range;
the lesser contribution coming from the
six rivers that drain from the Central
Range.

All these rivers are grossly


polluted by sewage and industrial Figure 2: River Basins in Trinidad. Source: EMA (1998)
wastes in their lower reaches. 3
The Mausica River receives treated sewage from the of supplying the Point Lisas Industrial Development
Arima Sewage Treatment Plant as well as chemical Project. The capacity of the plant is 60 to 75 million
and other effluents from the Mausica industrial estate. gallons per day (273,000 m3 d-1) and it supplies
In a study of organic chemicals derived from industry approximately 40% of the population of Trinidad
in local watercourses, the water quality of the Mau- west to Port of Spain and south to San Fernando.
sica River has been described as being more similar to
industrial waste water than to potable water supplies The northern tributaries - on their journey to the
yet it is upstream of a major source of drinking water - Caroni River– flow through valleys within which a
Caroni-Arena Water Treatment Plant. 4 number of activities occur. For example, the Arima
River flows through the Arima Valley which is used
The Mausica, Arima, Guanapo and Aripo rivers flow for quarrying, agriculture and settlement. Therefore,
south into the Caroni River upstream of the intake the various land uses that affect the water quality in
of the Caroni-Arena Water Treatment Plant which is these northern tributaries have downstream effects on
located opposite the old Piarco Airport. the Caroni River.
The plant is part of the Caroni-Arena Water Project
established in the early 1980s with the primary intent The quality of raw water abstracted from the Caroni
1
Nadra Nathia-Gyan and Rahanna A. Juman, “Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands (RIS)”, Wetlands
Intenational, http://www.wetlands.org/reports/ris/6TT003_RIS2005en.pdf, Accessed January 13, 2009.
2
Ibid
3
EMA, “State of the Environment Report”, 1998.
4
R. A. Moore and F.W. Karasek, “GC/MS identification of organic pollutants in the Caroni River, Trinidad”,
Journal of Environmental and Analytical Chemistry, 17 (1984), 203-221.
River is therefore dubious and treatment focuses on suspended sediments (flocculation with alum, sedimenta-
tion and filtration) and disinfection with chlorine. Water treatment includes use of activated carbon filters for
removal of taste and some pollutants, and must be regenerated regularly to maintain its effectiveness. The plant
was upgraded and expanded in 2000 and bank-side storage was built. 5

In addition to surface water resources, ground water is extensively utilised. Several large gravel aquifers lie
at the base of the Northern Range foothills from eastern Port of Spain to Arima. They include the El Socorro,
Valsayn, St Joseph/Maracas, Tacarigua, Arouca and Arima Gravels. They are recharged by their respective
rivers as they flow over the plain. Together these aquifers supply 40% of total groundwater extracted for use in
Trinidad.

Flooding is a natural occurrence on the Caroni Plains during high rainfall events. However, flood events have
been reduced through modification of the river channel and through construction of levees along the river bank.
The latter are visible from the Uriah Butler Highway.

Geology
The Andean mountain chain in South America was formed in the middle of the Miocene period. 6
The tectonic forces building the Andean mountain chain were also influencing the northern part of Trinidad.
Trinidad became highly disturbed by the compressional and tangential tectonic movements, leading to the for-
mation of all types of structures including simple anticlinal mountains like our Northern Range.7 At the base of
the Northern Range lies the Caroni Plains on a belt of lowlands stretching across the island from east to west,
and about 5 to 7 miles wide. 8

Underlying the Caroni Basin is the Cedros Formation. The rocks that comprise the Cedros Formation are en-
tirely sedimentary with representatives from the whole sequence between Holocene and lower Cretaceous.9 The
sources of the sedimentary material that comprises the formation are deposits from the Orinoco River System.
The mineral composition of the formation includes loose fine-grained quartz sand; poorly consolidated yellow,
red and brown sands; clay shale; grey blocky clays; soft marl; glauconitic calcareous sandstone; and micaceous
schist and phyllite.10 Generally, the sands are poorly assorted and vary from coarse to fine-grained. Interbed-
ded in the sands are lenses of hard iron cemented sandstones and conglomerates - these conglomerates contain
pebbles of white quartz, chert, and procelainite.11 Fragments of leaves and other carbonaceous matter are pres-
ent in some clays but are not abundant.12

WASA, “Water Distribution and Management”, Water and Sewage Authority, http://www.wasa.gov.tt/WASA_AboutUS_history2.html, Accessed July 03, 2009.
5
Soils
Information for this section is drawn from two main
sources: a report produced by Nazeer Ahmad on land
use in the Caroni Basin 13, and a study undertaken by
Kimlin Metvier on the impact of agricultural land use
management practices on the soil organic matter sta-
tus and carbon dioxide dynamics in some Trinidadian
soils.14
Streams that flow through the Northern Range transport
large volumes of soil and rock material which is de-
posited sequentially according to its mass. The heavier
or coarse fractions that are deposited first along with
material that slumps off the sides of the hills, give rise
to terraces on the foothills of the Range. The soils that
form here are considered immature; they are coarse
textured with layers of generally water-worn gravel,
stones and boulders at varying depths. Pedologically
the soil material is much like the materials found on the
slopes of the hills being rich in quartz and mica. Gener-
ally terrace soils occur in small parcels often with stony
phases, they have low fertility and water storage capac-
ity, shallow profiles and crusting is sometimes evident.
There are two types of terrace soils:
Figure 3: How flooding creates alluvial soils on floodplains
Terrace soils with free internal drainage
These are found on the gentle and moderate slopes forming only 7% of soils in the area. While drainage and
erosion are not a problem, these soils are not very fertile. Two soil types included in this category of soils are
the St. Augustine series and Santa Cruz series.
Terrace soils with impeded internal drainage
Impeded internal drainage causes these soils to be waterlogged during the rainy season. Areas with this soil
type are prone to flooding, for example, areas near the Piarco International Airport. These soils are also not
very fertile. Overall, terrace soils are not suitable for arable cultivation because of a number of soil properties
which include low soil fertility, low water storage capacity or flooding, some susceptibility to drought effects,
and restricted use of machinery because of stony phases. These soils are, however, suitable for construction
purposes because of their low shrink-swell properties.
Alluvial Soils
Deep alluvial soils with restricted internal drainage are also found on the North Caroni Plains between the
Churchill Roosevelt Highway and the Caroni River, and comprise 5% of the soils in the country. Alluvial
material comes from sediments deposited by the river system during flood events. Like many other alluvial
soils, fertility is good and flooding is not a problem; agricultural communities like Bamboo Settlement have
developed in the area.
A.G.A. Sutton, “Report on the general geology of Trinidad to accompany Geological map”, (Trinidad: Government Printing Office, 1955).
6

Ibid
7

Gerald Waring and G.D. Harris, “The Geology of the Island of Trinidad B.W.I. by Gerald Waring with notes on paleontology by G.D. Harris”,
8

Edward Bennett Mathews (ed.) (Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1926).


Nazeer Ahmad, “Caroni River Basin Study of Agronomist: Land use in the Caroni Basin”, (Trinidad: Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Water and
9

Sewage Authority, 1976).


Hans G. Kugler, “Treatise on the Geology of Trinidad Part 4: The Paleocene to Holocene Formations”, H.M. Bolli and M. Knappertsbucsh (eds.)
10

(Basel, Museum of Natural History, 2000).


Ibid
11

Ibid
12

Ahmad 1976
13

Kimlin A. Metvier, “The Impact of Agricultural Land Use Management Practices on the Soil Organic Matter Status and Carbon Dioxide Dynamics in some
14

Trinidadian Soils”, (M.Phil. Diss. University of the West Indies, 2004).


Section 2
This section describes land use on the North Caroni Plains and focuses on agriculture as a land use. The nature
and type of agriculture is described, and some of the issues affecting agriculture are also highlighted. Note that
only a preliminary introduction to agriculture on the North Caroni Plains is provided and further details and
observations can be gleaned from field visits, aerial photographs or satellite images (from Google Earth, for
example.)

Land Use
Like many other areas in Trinidad, the North Caroni Plains have a rich history of development and changing
land use.15 The original land cover was a variety of vegetation types such as seasonal evergreen forest and
small areas of edaphic (soil) climax communities such as marsh forest, and savannas at Aripo, O’Meara,
Mausica and Piarco.16 Land use is now very varied with built-up residential, commercial, industrial and
educational use along the East-West corridor extending from Port of Spain in the west to Arima in the east.

Residential and Educational


Expanding populations in pocket settlements have coalesced along the Old Eastern Main Road to form the
East-West corridor. The Old Eastern Main Road was an Amerindian trail in pre-European times. Some of the
older settlements include San Juan, Petit Bourg, Champ Fleurs, St Joseph, Curepe, St Augustine, Tunapuna, El
Dorado,Tacarigua, Arouca and Arima. Many large residential developments have recently arisen some on prime
agricultural land, such as Valsayn, Trincity and Tacarigua while further east, Oropune, Maloney, La Horquetta
and Santa Rosa are located on less suitable agricultural land. The demand for housing along the East-West cor-
ridor has been rising. In 2002 the demand for housing units was about 30,000, accounting for about 25% of the
national demand.17
Within any one settlement a number of activities may occur. For example, in St. Augustine there is residential
settlement, some small-scale commercial activity and a number of educational institutions. The Golden Grove
Maximum Security Prison is another notable landmark near the Piarco Airport intersection. The University of
the West Indies covers large areas adjacent to the Uriah Butler Highway including the Mt Hope Campus, Field
Station, Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School for Business and the St Augustine Campus. Within the East-West cor-
ridor there are numerous private and public educational facilities at all school levels.

Commerce and Industry


Along the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, industrial estates supporting a variety of activities are located at
Macoya, Trincity, O’Meara and Tumpuna. The new Central Market facility is also at the Macoya junction.
Ad hoc industrial and commercial development exists along the length of both the Eastern Main Road and
Churchill-Roosevelt Highway at Champs Fleurs (Carib Brewery, Lever Brothers), Nestlé in Valsayn, Aranguez,
Valpark Shopping Centre in Valsayn, Macoya and Trincity Mall in Trincity. Present and projected development
in Trincity include a business district, office park, hotel and convention centre, entertainment and recreational
facilities, retail shopping mall, transportation hub and PGA-standard 18 hole golf course, with lakes, a driving
range and clubhouse.

Agriculture
Sugar cane was the dominant agricultural crop on the Caroni Plains since its introduction to Trinidad in the
1630s by the Dutch. The cash crop was the mainstay of Trinidad and Tobago’s economy until the 1970s and
1980s. At this time sugar cane cultivation on the Plains began to dwindle as more investment was put into the
oil and gas sectors. Subsequently, areas that were previously under sugar cane cultivation like Pasea, Tacarigua,
Trincity, Arouca, Maloney and Orange Grove, were converted to other land uses, including residential, commer-
cial and small-scale agricultural settlements. Some of the more important agricultural settlements on the North
Caroni Plains are described in the table below. 18
A. De Verteuil, “The Great Estates of Trinidad”, (Trinidad: Litho Press, 2000).
15

P.L. Comeau, “Savannas in Trinidad”, Journal of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club 90
16

(1989/90), 5-8.
CSO, “Compendium of Environmental Statistics
17

Jeet Ramjattan, Interview by Maurice Rawlins, (Laventille, Feburary 2009).


18
Table 1: Some agricultural settlements on the North Caroni Plains
Farmers on the North Caroni Plains face numerous problems
1. Land tenancy is a major issue for most farmers as they occupy state lands and have no long-term lease
agreement. This makes it very difficult for them to secure loans from banks and have access to credit.

2. Labour shortages are a major problem because labour is often attracted away from agriculture to the
construction industry, and to government programmes such as the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP)
and Community Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP).

3. Competition for land for housing and commercial activity is one of agriculture’s biggest competitors.
Often farmers sell off their land to residential and commercial real estate agencies because the
returns from selling land are higher - at that time - than the returns from agriculture.
Some prime agricultural land is currently under other land uses.
Table 2: Some areas on prime agricultural land and their land uses

4. Competition from more attractive employment encourages farmers to leave the land to pursue jobs in the
commercial field. Also, farmers are not encouraging their children in a livelihood of agriculture because it is
simply not financially profitable.

5. Pollution of irrigation supply comes from a number of


sources including soakaways, domestic grey water
and factory runoff. This is a serious problem for farmers
because of the dangers of using polluted water, and
because farmers then have to find a new source of clean
water for irrigation.

In 2008, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources of Trinidad and Tobago (MALRTT)
conducted tests on the water quality of the streams used for irrigation in the NCP. The results showed that
E. coli was present in the water, but levels were not high enough to affect human health.19 There are no
regulations for monitoring of water quality by MALRTT. However, an advisory programme called Good
Agricultural Practices (GAP) is run by MALRTT, through which farmers are informed about sustainable
agricultural practices including the dangers of using contaminated inputs like polluted irrigation water.

19
Sundar Seecharan, Interview by Maurice Rawlins, (Curepe, March 2009).
Suggested activities to help understand issues
An example of how the Five Whys exercise can be used is used is provided below.
For more information on the Five Whys exercise refer to Guidelines for Learning Activities.

Note that this example is oversimplified, and in reality issues tend to have multiple causes. This activity should
be repeated to include a variety of answers for ‘Whys’- this can help students to appreciate the multitude of
complex factors surrounding any one issue.
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Agronomist: Land use in the Caroni Basin. ment Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.
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ronment Report 1998. Environmental Management
Alkins-Koo, Mary. 2003-2007. Case Study - Back- Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.
ground. BIOL 2461, Dept. of Life Sciences, Univer-
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Alkins-Koo, Mary. 2005. Ecological Assessment
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17: 203-221. plan, Trinidad and Tobago. Chaguaramas: TCPD

Nathai-Gyan, Nadra and Rahanna A. Juman. 2005. United States Environmental Protection Agency
“Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands (RIS)”. (US EPA). 2006. Terms of Environment: Glossary,
Wetlands International. http://www.wetlands.org/ Abbreviations and Acronyms. http://www.epa.gov/
reports/ris/6TT003_RIS2005en.pdf OCEPAterms/fterms.html (accessed July 09, 2009).
(accessed January 13, 2009).
Utah.gov. “What is a formation? – Utah Geological
Neuendorf, Klaus K.E., James P. Mehl, Jr. and Julia Survey.” http://ugs.utah.gov/surveynotes/gladasked/
A. Jackson. Glossary of Geology. gladformation.htm (accessed January 30, 2009).
Virginia: American Geological Institute, 2005.
Waring, Gerald and G.D. Harris. The Geology of
Northern Range Assessment (NRA). 2005. Report the Island of Trinidad B.W.I. by Gerald Waring with
of an Assessment of the Northern Range, Trinidad notes on paleontology by G.D. Harris. Ed. Edward
and Tobago: People and the Northern Range. State Bennett Mathews. Baltimore: John Hopkins Press,
of the Environment Report 2004. Environmental 1926.
Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.
184pp. Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA). 2008.
Water Distribution and Management.
Quentrall. Famous Parang Places in Trinidad. http://www.wasa.gov.tt/WASA_AboutUs_history2.
http://www.quentrall.com/Charity/Parang/Pages/ html (accessed 03 July 2009).
History.htm (accessed February 12, 2009)
Williams, Karyn. Present and Future Prospects for
Ramjattan, Jeet. Interview by Maurice Rawlins. Urban Agriculture in the East-West Corridor, Trini-
Laventille, Trinidad, 3rd February, 2009. dad. Research Project, School of Urban Planning,
Mc Gill University, 2000.
APPENDIX A: Acronyms used in this case study

CEPEP Community Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme

CSO Central Statistical Office

EMA Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago

GAP Good Agricultural Practices

MALRTT Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources of Trinidad and Tobago

NCP North Caroni Plains

URP Unemployment Relief Programme

WASA Water and Sewage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago

APPENDIX B: Glossary of terms used in this case study

Alluvial Relating to and/or material usually sand and other coarse fragments deposited by flowing water.

Aquifer An underground geological formation or group of formations, containing water.

Catchment The area drained by a river or body of water.


Area

Cretaceous 98 – 65 million years ago

Effluent The discharge of processed liquid from a man-made structure, into a larger body of water.

Flocculation Process by which clumps of solids in water or sewage aggregate through biological or chemical
action.

Floodplain The flat or nearly flat land along a river or stream or in a tidal area that is covered by water
during a flood.

Formation Refers to any specific sedimentary strata or rock unit


(rock)

Ground All water found beneath the surface of the ground which is not chemically combined with any
water minerals present.

Holocene 12,000 years ago to present

Irrigation Applying water or wastewater to land areas to supply the water and nutrient needs of plants.

Lens (rock) A band of minerals in a rock, distinct from the surrounding composition of the rock
Miocene 23 – 5.33 million years ago

Stony phase Containing sufficient stones to interfere with or prevent tillage. To be classified as stony,
more than 0.1% of the surface of the soil must be covered with stones.

Surface All water naturally open to the atmosphere, including rivers, lakes, streams, and estuaries.
water

Tributary A river or stream flowing into a larger river or lake.


THE CROPPER FOUNDATION

Pos
Port of Spain
In this case study:
Section 1
Location & Topography
Port of Spain (POS) is a coastal city located on the north-western peninsula of Trinidad. It is situated on the
foothills of the Northern Range. Residential settlement in east Port of Spain (Belmont and Laventille) occurs on
slopes and ridges, but most of the city is situated on land which slopes gently toward the sea. The City of POS
Corporation Area extends from Cocorite in the west, to Maraval Valley in the north, to Laventille/ Morvant near
the boundary with Barataria in the east, and to the sea in the south. This area is also known as Greater Port of
Spain (GPOS).

Figure 1: Map of study area

However, the study area under consideration does not include all of the GPOS area, and only the following
areas are considered: Downtown and Uptown Port of Spain; Woodbrook; Tranquility; Newtown; Queen’s
Park Savanna; Sea Lots; Belmont and Gonzales; and Laventille.
Demographics
Population

Early records of POS (c.1757) describe it as a small fishing village with as few as 60 inhabitants.
Several events however, have changed both the physical and demographic structure of POS.
Some noteworthy events include:
• The settling of the Spaniards in the middle to late 1700s and the establishment of Port of Spain,
then called Puerto de d’España, as the capital and a major port for the country.
• The introduction of 24,000 slaves to POS in 1838 with the collapse of the Apprenticeship system.
• The introduction of East Indian indentured servants around 1845.
• Influx of Chinese immigrant labourers from 1853 to 1866.

These events, along with the influx of persons from surrounding islands and from other areas of the country, and
increasing infrastructural development quickly made POS one the most populous and racially diverse areas in
the country. In 2000, it was estimated in the Greater Port of Spain Local Area Plan (GPOSLAP) that the popula-
tion in the city ranged from 40,000 to 45,000. Data from the Central Statistical Office (CSO) in 2000 estimates
the population density of POS at 4,096 persons per km2. Although the population numbers of POS are high, the
Area Plan indicates that the rate of growth of individual households in POS is decreasing. This is due to out-mi-
gration to neighbouring areas, for example Diego Martin, Barataria and San Juan. The reasons for out-migration
of resident populations will be described in the section “Port of Spain – An Urban System”. The transient popu-
lation, which is the population that passes through the city, is estimated at 500,000 persons daily. This does not
mean that at any one time there are half a million persons in the city. Instead, it means that throughout the day
500,000 persons enter and/or exit POS. Some reasons for the high transient population include:
• The city acts as a major corridor from east to west.
• POS is the major centre for government and administrative activity.
• POS is the major commercial centre of Trinidad and Tobago.

The pattern of resident and transient population, however, is not unique to POS as a coastal city. Coastal cities
usually have high resident and transient populations. Estimates put average population density for coastal cities
at 80 persons per km2, which is about twice the global average.1 High population densities occur because:
• people derive food from coastal marine ecosystems;
• the oceans are critical for shipping and transport industries;
• the coast provides livelihoods through fishing and coastal service industries; and
• recreational activities such as fishing and diving occur on coasts.

1
Liz Creel, “Ripple Effects: Population and Coastal Regions”, Population Reference Bureau, 2003,

http://www.prb.org/Publications/PolicyBriefs/RippleEffectsPopulationandCoastaRegions.aspx
Note: Figures taken from the GPOSLAP may not be entirely relevant to the area used in this study.
This is one of the challenges faced when redesigning study areas for which discrete or disaggregated
information is not available.

Discussion
An excerpt from Climate Change in the Caribbean
Activity and the Challenge of Adaptation 2:
Identify coastal cities in the
Caribbean region and compare their Approximately 70 per cent of the Caribbean population lives
in coastal cities, towns and villages, a consequence of:
average population densities with the the abundance of relatively easy to navigate and, therefore,
average population densities for the very accessible natural harbours; the export-oriented econ-
respective country. omy; the importance of artesian fisheries; and the tourism
industry’s coastal focus. More than half the population lives
within 1.5 km of the coast and international airports, roads,
and capital cities are commonly situated along the coast.

• Why do coastal areas have high population densities?


• Why do coastal cities develop as large urban centres?
• How do coastal cities of small islands such as those in the Caribbean, compare with coastal
cities found in larger countries such as those in South-East Asia? Topics for consideration
may include population size, population density and history of development of the area.

Employment

Almost 40% of the jobs in POS are in


the government sector. This is a factor
to be considered in land use planning
if decentralisation is an option.

!
Figure 2: Distribution of jobs by type in Port of Spain, 1995-97 3

2
UNEP, “Climate Change in the Caribbean and the Challenge of Adaptation”, UNEP Regional Office for Latin

America and the Caribbean, Panama City, Panama, 2008.


3
UDeCOTT, “Greater Port of Spain Local Area Plan”, Halcrow Group Ltd. For Ministry of Housing and Settlements, Trinidad and Tobago, 2000.
History
Information for this section is drawn from literature on Port of Spain produced by Michael Anthony 4 in
1978 and Carlton Ottley 5 in 1962, and by a report on the urban history of Port of Spain produced by
Yvonne Dickman 6 in 1992.

A recent history of POS is provided to highlight some key events that helped to shape the physical structure and
influence much of what we know today as Port of Spain.

• In 1796 the name “Puerto de d’España” was changed to “Port of Spain” under British rule. Many of the
streets were given patriotic names such as Duncan, Nelson, and Duke. The Rio Santa Ana became
known as the St. Ann’s River.
• 1797 to 1802 saw two phases of development. In the first phase the boundaries of POS were established.
The boundaries were the East Dry River to the east, Richmond Street to the west, Park Street to the
north, and the sea to the south and south west. The second phase of development included the
designation of northward-running streets, starting with Henry Street and moving westward to Edward
Street.
• A major fire occurred in 1808 consuming most of the town from George Street in the east to St. Vincent
in the west, and from Duke Street in the north to Independence Square North in the south. In 1813 the
town of Port of Spain was rebuilt.
• In 1899 the boundaries of POS were extended to include Belmont, East Dry River and Woodbrook.
• In 1914 Port of Spain was declared a city.
• In 1917 St. Clair was incorporated into the boundaries of the city.
• In 1933 the East Dry River burst its banks due to torrential rain and caused flooding in POS.
• In 1934 the paving of the East Dry River was completed. This changed the hydrology of the river, and
also introduced a new corridor from southern to northern areas of Port of Spain.
• In 1935, Gonzales was incorporated into the city. Also in that year, vehicular traffic along Henry and
Frederick streets was restricted to one direction.
• Between 1937 and 1938 land was reclaimed from the sea in order to develop western areas of POS.
• In 1953 traffic lights were introduced in POS. This marked a significant advancement in traffic control
within the city.
• In 1987 a land use plan was developed for POS. The main objective of the plan was to repopulate the
city by constructing 1200 new dwellings by 1995 in Newtown, Uptown, Tranquillity and Downtown.
Other objectives included the refurbishing of Independence Square into tree-lined open spaces, with
shelters for commuters.
• On July 27 1990, members of the Jamaat al Muslimeen attempted to stage a coup d’état against the
government of Trinidad and Tobago. The police headquarters located on Sackville and Edward streets
were bombed and burnt.
• In 1993 and 2008, the East Dry River again burst its banks and flooded Downtown POS.

4
Michael Anthony, “The Making of Port of Spain”, (Port of Spain: Key Caribbean Publications, 1978).

5
Carlton Ottley, “The story of Port of Spain: capital of Trinidad, West Indies, from the earliest times to the present day”, (Diego Martin Trinidad: Crusoe P, 1962).

6
Yvonne R. Dickman, “An urban history of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago”, (Master of Urban Planning Research, McGill University, 1992).
Port of Spain - An Urban System
Urban systems are built environments with a high population density and are operationally defined as human
settlements with a minimum population density commonly in the range of 400 to 1000 persons per square
kilometre, minimum size of typically between 1,000 and 5,000 people. 7

Port of Spain is the most prominent urban centre in Trinidad and Tobago, housing many of the country’s com-
mercial, government and administrative services. Residential settlement both planned and unplanned is another
major land use in POS. Urbanisation of POS is taking place at a rapid rate, and is evident by the increasing
infrastructural development, resident and transient population. Pollution levels in POS, flood events, vehicular
traffic and crime are also increasing. These are common problems faced by many urbanised centres, and are
managed through urban planning and management. In discussing POS as an urban system, let us first look at
land use.

Residential Land Use


Residential settlements surround Downtown and Uptown POS. There are four main groups of settlement:
Group 1: Woodbrook, Tranquility and Newtown; Group 2: Belmont, Gonzales and Laventille; Group 3: Sea
Lots; Group 4: Inner-city housing. These areas are grouped because of their close proximity to each other, and
because they share similar socioeconomic issues like crime, land use development and history of development.

Group 1:
• Woodbrook was first settled in 1911 and was traditionally a middle class area. Although residential
settlement remains the prominent land use, commercial development is encroaching. Tragarete Road,
Ariapita Avenue and Wrightson Road are now predominantly commercial strips featuring restaurants, bars,
and furniture stores. The key issue in Woodbrook is the continuing commercialisation which is pushing
residents out to more distant suburban areas of POS. Security is a major issue as a result of
commercialisation. Commercial properties become targets for criminal activity in the evening when they
are vacant.
• Tranquility started as a predominantly middle income residential area, but presently features a mixture of
residential and commercial development. The area is developed in a grid pattern, and the plots are larger
than those in Woodbrook. Traffic congestion is a problem in Tranquility because roads were not expanded
and parking spaces not created to accommodate the increased vehicular traffic due to commercial
development.
• Newtown started as a predominantly middle income residential area, but presently features a mixture of
housing and commercial developments consisting of corporate offices and embassies around 4 to 6 storeys
in height. However, housing remains the dominant land use in Newtown. Like Woodbrook, Newtown faces
pressure from medium-density commercial development on residential sites.

Major trends: Potential loss of remaining residential development in


Tranquility and Newtown areas.

7
UNEP, “Our Human Planet: Summary for Decision Makers/ Millennium Ecosystem Assessment”, (USA: Island Press, 2005).
Group 2:
• Belmont and Gonzales started off as residential suburbs in the 1840s and 50s, and retain their residential
characteristic today. These two areas are known for their street patterns of narrow winding roads which
wander into lanes and abruptly end in valleys. 8 This pattern was the result of a rapid influx of population in
the 1880s and 90s. Many of the large houses previously occupied by the black professional class in Belmont
have been renovated and converted for commercial uses. Some parts of Gonzales (the higher ridges) are
unplanned, unsewered and there is no pipe-borne water except by the way of standpipes. 9

• Laventille is a residential district located on the rim of the city of POS on the slopes of the Northern Range.
The district is made up of a number of villages which include Trou Macaque, Success, Chinapoo, Prizgar
Lands and Picton Hill. The development of the settlement has been largely unplanned and features a
mixture of ad hoc houses, paved roads, unpaved tracks and steep steps. Because of unplanned development,
infrastructure like sewage and pipe-borne water is lacking in some parts and services like solid waste
collection is not always available. One of the major issues Laventille faces is crime; homicide and
drug-related activity are commonplace in some areas of Laventille. In spite of a largely negative character,
Laventille has been identified in the GPOSLAP as a cultural heritage site because of its context in the
history and evolution of Carnival and steel pan.

Group 3:
• Sea Lots is a squatter settlement with poor drainage and little or no infrastructure for sewerage or pipe-borne
water. The settlement is physically divided by the East Dry River (St. Ann’s River) into Sea Lots East and
West. Residents of the settlement derive livelihoods from jobs available on the adjacent waterfront and the
Sea Lots Industrial Centre.

Group 4:
• Inner-city housing settlements are located in the south-eastern section of Central POS. These settlements
include areas commonly known as the “Plannings” on Duncan, Nelson and George Streets along the East
Dry River and Charford Court. The “Plannings” were constructed under the Colonial Government’s Slum
Clearance Act of 1944, in order to improve the overcrowded conditions and dilapidated housing conditions.
Charford Court was one of the National Housing Authority’s (NHA) High Density Housing Projects.

A good reference – East Port of Spain Development Company Limited website available at
http://eposdctt.com/

8
Ralph Araujo, “Memoirs of a Belmont Boy”, (Trinidad: Imprint Caribbean, 1984).
9
Asad Mohammed, “Participatory Planning in East Port of Spain”, 39th ISoCARP Congress, 2003.
Commercial Land use
Port of Spain is the largest, and most important, commercial and retail centre in the country. Many headquarters
of large financial corporations, like major banks, as well as major commercial enterprises are located in POS.
The variety of commercial and retail stores include major shopping facilities – mainly along Frederick and
Henry streets, specialty stores, food shops, professional offices – located in POS and surrounding areas like
Woodbrook and Newtown. However, specific types of commercial and retail activity occupy particular areas of
POS. Let us look specifically at the Downtown and Uptown POS and the Waterfront.

• Downtown is the retail core of POS and features many stores selling a variety of goods.
There is street vending – on Charlotte and George Streets. There is some high and medium rise
commercial development, for example, Nicholas Tower that houses a variety of service industries.
Because Downtown is the centre of retail it experiences high pedestrian and vehicular traffic; we will
look at this issue in greater detail in the section “Issues”. The Central Business District (CBD) is located
in Downtown POS within the boundaries of Park Street, Independence Square, Richmond and Duncan
Streets.

!
Figure 3: First Citizens Bank Independence Square

!
Figure 4: Excellent City Centre
!
Figure 5: Housing Development Corporation

!
Figure 6: Nicholas Tower

Trends: Some private sector development (finance and corporate firms) are moving out of
Downtown to the Uptown/Tranquility area and smaller businesses moving to Woodbrook.
Residents are moving out of Uptown and Tranquility to Woodbrook because of competition
from commercial industries.

Discussion:
What is the CBD and why is it located
in this specific area of POS?
• Uptown features less retail development than Downtown POS. Instead, larger corporations, embassies and
international agencies/companies dominate the commercial activity in this area. Traffic is a major issue in
this area, and will be explored in greater detail in the section “Urban Issues in Port of Spain”.

!
Figure 7: BP Building
• The Waterfront spans the coast from Sea Lots up to the Movie Towne Entertainment and Shopping Complex
located on the Audrey Jeffers Highway in the west. The port occupies part of the waterfront, and services
international cargo handling, cruise shipping facilities, towage and dredging services, the inter-island ferry
between Trinidad and Tobago, and the ferry from POS to San Fernando. The waterfront has undergone
recent development to include two 26 storey buildings, the Hyatt hotel with the largest conference facilities
in the Caribbean, a recreational park space, a parking lot and retail centres – most of which are currently
unoccupied.

Administrative Function
POS is the seat of government and is the centre of government’s administrative services. Many of the govern-
ment offices are located in Downtown POS within the CBD, for example, the Red House, City Hall and the
Hall of Justice. However, many government services are now moving out of the POS area to other areas such as
Tunapuna, Chaguanas and San Fernando in a process called decentralization. This is an effort to reduce some
of the traffic congestion that POS faces.

!
Figure 8: The Red House – the seat of government

!
Figure 9: Police Headquarters
Recreational Land Use
One of the notable recreational areas in POS is the Queen’s Park Savannah. The Savannah is an 82 hectare area
of open land covered with grass located on the outskirts of Uptown POS. It serves multiple uses including a site
for social, cultural and sport activities. One of the relatively unnoticed uses of the Savannah is as a water catch-
ment: the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) pumps roughly one million gallons of water per day from this
aquifer to supply the Woodbrook and the General Hospital. 10
Other recreational spots include the Brian Lara Promenade, restaurants and bars, nightclubs, cineplexes and
sporting facilities located all around POS.

Transport
The major transport hub for the country – City Gate – is located to the south of POS. City Gate provides public
transport for fifty per cent of the population leaving POS to head to the east, central and south areas in Trinidad.
A number of smaller taxi stands are located within Downtown and Uptown POS for transport within and out of
POS.
Many of the major roads direct traffic into POS. For example, Mucurapo Road, Western Main Road, Wrightson
Road and the Beetham Highway form a corridor through Port of Spain. The Lady Young Road provides a ring
road around POS, for vehicles traversing from east to west of POS.

Activity
On a blank map of Port of Spain, use
symbols such as international travel
information symbols to identify
different land uses and activities.

Discussion
Can a pattern of land uses be identified? Does this pattern
conform to any models of urban structure, for example
Burgess, Hoyt, or Ullman and Harris?

10
UDeCOTT, “Greater Port of Spain Local Area Plan”, Halcrow Group Ltd. For Ministry of Housing and Settlements, Trinidad and Tobago, 2000.
Urban Issues In Port Of Spain
Many of the problems that are faced in POS are not unique to the area as an urban centre. The United Nations
Human Settlement Programme (UN HABITAT) highlights pollution and transport (traffic congestion) as two of
the leading problems that urban centres face. These are two major issues that POS faces along with periodic
flooding and crime. Crime will not be covered in this case study.

Figure 10: Links between urban characteristics of POS and urban issues

Traffic congestion
The concentration of commercial activities in a relatively small and compact area causes congestion and traffic-
related noise in the downtown area. Much of the traffic congestion in Downtown POS stems from the lack of
available parking spaces in the city. Double-parking often occurs along streets and brings traffic to a crawl or
complete standstill in certain areas of downtown. The high volume of pedestrian traffic, coupled with people
crossing roads in a haphazard manner also contributes to the traffic congestion.

The causes of traffic congestion uptown and in areas of Newtown, Tranquility and Woodbrook are similar to
those Downtown. Lack of parking space is a major problem in these areas, as they were not originally designed
for the high volume of vehicular activity due to increasing commercial activity. The roads themselves are also
quite narrow, so parking on the roads exacerbates the problem.

Discussion
What are some options for alleviating traffic in the
city? Have any of these options been successful in
other countries?
Flooding
Flooding is emerging as a major issue in POS. It usually occurs after brief rainfall events along South Quay,
Henry Street and the Brian Lara Promenade and recedes in about an hour. However, there have been occasions
when the East Dry River has burst its banks and caused widespread flooding in Downtown POS (See History).
The channel capacity of the East Dry River is adequate for the amount of water it carries, but the large volume
of sediments, garbage and debris in the channel reduces the capacity of the channel to accommodate large
volumes of water and hence flooding occurs. The sources of the debris and sediments are eroded material from
unplanned development of steep slopes and areas upstream of the East Dry River. It is probable that devegeta-
tion of the hillsides north of POS are contributing to flooding by:
• Accelerating sedimentation in the river channel because of increased erosion.
• Increasing volumes of surface water and greater velocity of runoff into the river channel.
These activities cannot be directly linked to flooding in the Downtown area and students should be careful about
making assertions about the causes of flooding. Pollution in the city’s drains also contributes to flooding.

At locations where the channel gradients become abruptly steep, for example where old land meets more recent-
ly reclaimed land, flooding occurs. Wrightson Road and South Quay are included in these areas.
In addition to the direct economic costs associated with flooding incidents, citizens are also increasingly expe-
riencing other effects which are less easy to put an economic value to. Hours spent in traffic jams or waiting for
public transportation; health implications; days lost from work; and time spent worrying about when and what
the next flooding event might bring can all have a significant impact on various aspects
of our well-being, and an increasing number of people are beginning to appreciate these.

Discussion
How does the storm hydrograph change for natural river
channels versus paved river channels?
Is flooding on reclaimed land a common problem in other
parts of the world? If yes how has it been dealt with?

Pollution
Aside from the large number of pedestrians and motorists being generally careless, and dumping their refuse in
the streets and on the sidewalks, there exists a larger solid waste problem. It is common practice to put garbage
bags into local communal storage bunkers and bins on a daily basis and rubbish may be stockpiled for several
days before it is collected. During this time animals and vagrants rummage through the rubbish and spread it
about, making collection extremely difficult and aggravating the pollution and health hazards associated with
storing waste that is awaiting collection. 11

Atmospheric pollution is also an issue in POS.


It has two main sources:
1. Concentration of vehicular emissions due to traffic congestion.
2. Fires at the Beetham landfill site create a serious smog problem in POS, especially in the morning.

Discussion
How do temperature inversions during the night, play
a role in creating smog over POS during the morning
periods? Consider the role of the built environment
(buildings, structures etc.) on the climate of cities
11
UDeCOTT 2000.
(urban climates) and air pollution.
Urban Planning
Effective urban planning is needed in POS to ensure that the issues inherent in being an urban centre have
minimal impact on the well-being of humans and on the environment. Urban planning involves coordination of
activities, provision and maintenance of infrastructure, and monitoring of existing planning schemes to ensure
their efficacy.

In the recent past many studies on urbanisation in POS have been carried out on behalf of the state to identify
problems and suggest solutions. Some of these include:

1. Redevelopment Plan for Port of Spain (1973), Town and Country Planning Division.

2. Participatory Planning in East Port of Spain (2003), 39th ISoCarp Congress.

3. Solid Waste Management in the City of Port of Spain Urban Management Programme

- A Baseline Study (2003), David W. Hinds and M. and D. Flores.

4. Greater Port of Spain Local Area Plan (2000), UDeCOTT.

5. East Port of Spain Strategic Development Plan (2007). East Port of Spain Development Company Limited.

6. A Comprehensive Urban Management Plan for the Central Business District of Port of Spain (2008),

Ministry of Local Government, GoRTT.

However, many of the recommendations have not achieved the desired results: while some areas or sections of
the country have benefited, others have stagnated or declined. 12 The reasons for the lack of success include:

• At the local level, exclusion of key stakeholders in the planning and implementation of projects affecting

their areas.

• At the municipal corporation level, shortage of resources, including human resources, to play a role in

development planning for their areas.

• At the central government level, unbalanced distribution of limited public sector funds.

It is not possible in this case study to look at every single aspect of urban management in terms of what has
been done and what needs to be done. Earlier in the case study some issues relating to POS as an urban centre
were identified; some options for dealing with these issues are presented below. These options are drawn from
the GPOSLAP.

12
Ibid
Issue Options
! Fully pedestrianize streets with introduction of sidewalk canopies, shade trees,
lighting, seating, bins and crossing at street junctions – Frederick Street between
Independence Square and Woodford Square.
! Enhance pedestrian, visual, economic linkages by creating pedestrian priority
route along Independence Square to Waterfront development and Cruise Ship
Traffic
Complex by providing fixed crossing at Wrightson Road City Gateway site.
! Introduce road hierarchy; controlled parking zone; traffic management including
on-street parking restriction and enforcement of pedestrian priority.
! Promote office development in Downtown/ Uptown to relieve pressure on
Woodbrook.
! Prepare a catchment-wide structure plan for drainage; a key aspect of the plan
will be requirements for low-lying areas at South Quay/ Independence Square in
relation to the proposed Waterfront Development.
! Identify areas at risk from flooding and capable of being used to store flood
water.
! Construct detention ponds to store floodwaters in key locations. These should be
identified as part of a catchment-wide drainage structure plan. Detention ponds
should logically be located in areas that already flood frequently or areas
immediately upstream of such trouble spots, e.g. in the vicinity of the Queen’s
Park Savannah.
! Drains that are northward of Independence Square should not be allowed to
Flooding
empty into the South Quay or City Gate drainage complex. Any new
development should include a large drain that will channel flood water directly to
the sea.
! Upgrade street drains and install silt traps and trash racks in the drains. Some
drains in POS already have these, but they have been poorly constructed and are
not as effective as they could be.
! Identify areas that need to be protected from erosion. In protecting these areas by
slowing down flood flows, substantial detention storage can be achieved – check
dams can be utilised. Check dams are small dams placed in steep gullies to break
the speed of water flowing down these gullies in order to break the destructive
force of fast flowing water. Check dams can be vegetated.
! To alleviate the problems of storing waste while it is awaiting collection, provide
mobile compactor units instead of current metal bins and storage bunkers.
! Revamp proposal for deposits on glass and plastic bottles and an environmental
levy on batteries and tyres and other difficult to dispose of or recyclable items.
Pollution Draft legislation for this already exists, but there has been resistance to
implementation.
! Carry out detailed feasibility study on options for redeveloping the Beetham
Landfill site, including low tech/ high tech solutions and site remediation/ after
use possibilities
Box 2: Suggested options for dealing with issues in POS

Activity Discussion
Look through past development plans How have past plans addressed some of these issues?
for POS for proposed strategies for Can you make any recommendations for dealing with
some of these issues?
dealing with some of these issues.

Note: Many of these issues are not isolated, and so any strategies to deal with issues must be complementary.
Suggested Activity
(See Generic Learning Activities: Conducting Surveys)
Objectives:
1. To familiarize students with data analysis.
2. To make students aware of the importance of public participation in urban planning.
Note that it may not be possible to complete an entire exercise in urban planning, and teachers should strive
to inform students – in theory – about other aspects of urban planning.

As part of a participatory planning exercise for urban planning, conduct a survey of persons who live, work and
commute into and out of POS. Get their opinion on the issues that POS faces as an urban centre, and try to get
them to suggest some recommendations for dealing with these issues.

Pool the class data and find an appropriate way to represent the information, such as a bar graph.
Use these results as inputs for the urban planning exercise. For example, 43% of the persons working in
POS would prefer if Frederick, Henry and Charlotte streets be pedestrianized between 7 am and 7 pm every day.
Remember that you are measuring people’s opinions, and it is not always feasible to attempt to meet everyone’s
requests. The process must involve prioritising, cost-benefit analysis, and meeting the greater public interest.

Other activities for POS could focus on:


• Urban environments and ecosystems. Consider the urban centre as an ecosystem where resources
are consumed and wastes are produced. Resources such as food, water and energy may be sourced
from areas surrounding the urban centre.
• Urban habitats for animals and plants.
• Urban climates.
• Coastal cities and sea level rise resulting from global climate change.

Bibliography
Alkins-Koo, Mary. 2003-2007. Dickman, Yvonne R. 1992. An urban history
Case Study - Port of Spain. BIOL 2461, of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
Dept. Of Life Sciences, University of the Master of Urban Planning Research,
West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. McGill University.

Anthony, Michael. 1978. The Making of Port of Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Urban Planning.
Spain. Port of Spain, Trinidad: Key Caribbean Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Publications. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/
topic/619445/urban-planning
Araujo, Ralph. 1984. Memoirs of a Belmont Boy. [accessed July 20 2009]
Trinidad: Inprint Caribbean.
Mohammed, Asad. 2003. Participatory Planning in
Creel, Liz. 2003. Ripple Effects: Population and East Port of Spain. 39th ISoCarp Congress.
Coastal Regions. Population Reference Bureau.
http://www.prb.org/Publications/PolicyBriefs/Rip- Ottley, Carlton Robert. 1962.
pleEffectsPopulationandCoastaRegions.aspx The story of Port of Spain: capital of Trinidad,
[accessed June 13, 2009] West Indies, from the earliest times to the present
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The Cropper Foundation (TCF). 2009. UNEP. 2008. Climate Change in the Caribbean
Sustainable Development Terms and Concepts: and the Challenge of Adaptation.
A Reference for Teachers and Students. UNEP Regional Office for Latin America and the
Port of Spain, Trinidad. Caribbean, Panama City, Panama.

UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme). Urban Development Corporation on Trinidad and
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Makers/ Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Local Area Plan. Halcrow Group (Trinidad and To-
USA: Island Press. bago) Ltd. for Ministry of Housing and Settlements.

APPENDIX A: Acronyms used in this case study

CBD Central Business District


CSO Central Statistical Office
GPOS Greater Port of Spain
GPOSLAP Greater Port of Spain Local Area Plan
ISoCARP International Society of City and Regional Planners
NHA National Housing Authority of Trinidad and Tobago
POS Port of Spain
QPS Queens Park Savannah
UDeCOTT Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago
UN-HABITAT United Nations Human Settlements Programme
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
WASA Water and Sewage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago

APPENDIX B: Glossary of terms used in the case study


Decentralisation The movement of power, professionals and resources from urban cores to surrounding
less-urban areas.
Population density The total number of inhabitants per square unit of surface area.
Resident The population which occupies a specific area for a prolonged period of time.
population For example, persons living in an area. No period of time has been designated as this
term can be used on a relative basis.
Suburb A residential area within the boundaries of a town or a city.
Transient The population that passes through a specific area, or stays in a specific area for a short
population period of time, such as for a workday.
Urban Living in or situated in a town or city.
Urbanization An increase in the proportion of population living in urban areas.
Urban planning The design and regulation of the uses of space that focus on the physical form, economic
functions, and social impacts of the urban environment and on the location of different
activities within it.

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