Retired foresters want to help with forestry

Re­tired foresters be­lieve the Forestry Di­vi­sion is un­der­staffed and lacks prop­er man­age­ment train­ing.

Dur­ing their an­nu­al Christ­mas lun­cheon held at the San Fer­nan­do Hill, vice pres­i­dent of the Forestry Re­tirees As­so­ci­a­tion Clarence Bac­chus said the re­tirees were will­ing to share their wealth of ex­per­tise to as­sist in prop­er forests man­age­ment.

In an in­ter­view, Bac­chus said more train­ing must be pro­vid­ed to the cadre of for­est rangers who man­age T&T’s for­est re­serves.

With re­gard to de­for­esta­tion, Bac­chus said while the prob­lem was not dire but he not­ed that there was room for im­prove­ment.

“We are hop­ing to be that ad­vo­ca­cy group and we can make an in­put in­to the de­vel­op­ment of forestry in T&T,” Bac­chus said. He added that apart from un­der­staffing, the forestry war­dens need­ed holis­tic train­ing in en­tre­pre­neur­ial man­age­ment when it came to the sale of for­est trees.

“We have chal­lenges in hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment. We do not have a train­ing in­sti­tu­tion spe­cif­ic to the work of the forestry so we have a cadre of hu­man re­source that is not in line with the re­quire­ments need­ed for prop­er forests man­age­ment.”

Asked to elab­o­rate, Bac­chus said, “Forestry is a sci­en­tif­ic sub­ject and the forestry di­vi­sion has to man­age com­pe­ten­cy in sales. I be­lieve the peo­ple who are in­volved in the sell­ing of for­est trees are not prop­er­ly trained when it comes to sales. The forestry di­vi­sion is plan­ning to con­duct train­ing to up­grade the skills of those who are in the for­est man­age­ment lev­el,” Bac­chus said. He not­ed that many of the re­tired foresters be­lieve they still have a con­tri­bu­tion to make.

He said many for­est re­serves in ar­eas such as Are­na, Nar­i­va, Ca­roni swamp and in the south­ern wa­ter­shed are pro­tect­ed.

He al­so said there was a need to have prop­er link­ages with saw-millers and fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­tur­ers to en­sure that the for­est re­serves are not ex­ploit­ed.

Reporter: Radhica Sookraj 

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