If everyone plants a tree, V.J. forests will survive
Whe Colbs mde his sec-
ond vora the Virgin iblands
se idands were sill covered by a
ae dry foat ecosystem. Between
1700 aod IR0, mot of St. Croix
was cead and played ib supr.
an and cottoe. Also. St. John's
forest was cleared exeaively for
cltivation, and St. Tomas also
was cleared toa cabn extental dor-
ing th period.
T Virgin bands' iopica dry
ad ois forst o Oe flouishd on
aes islands extensively, coweing
alestofld. 1k jm c-like forea
look milkeia to develop. Today.
abo l74,000 ares dotpical fxna
ae king ent ach day worldwide,
ad each day. hundred of species
come xnict-ths maln fore
they ee a knono man.
Iaportt ad fasciat as i
i, homwver, ores c isju put of
our greea inheritace. Thus, the
Sp I of evoltio ad plamnter
vival strateies and the eDs of
Ihadreds of generation of VirgiL
sanders athe e piutl on which
we m today.
For eapk the r owl of ide a
your able bi ait of the otral
wild rice, of he centuries of rice
growers. of the skill of modern
botanists of the diseaseesistance
of wid rice and of the work of oil
What should we do for rice
today if dh first wild ritc had bee
plowed wonder by a bulldozer to
make way for a Neanderthal holi-
day sorn? Plas have been sya.
bols of the Earth's life force and
have provided slac o th human
Yet we in he Viri bolnds ae
oqafdnriot this green inth4itaace is
igorace. tboughtlss Wapaace
and greed, failisa to appreciate
ciher tde bey of d es islads or
Svalue ofwhatwe deoy.
By the late 1920s. our local
wood idugstrics in thes islands
were coofiand to Sodahi b char
coaling, bay-oil xtraction, and
Alost all the foestlad was
desiryed by canlgdowsn ead
aot epbml Moingtaee b lar ecale.
does that arc best for life oh the
Ths, trees aM importau MoMw
Olee climatic coditioo her i the Vi
SDav gIslCans.We ar feelinheb bea
these days. and sumcr has jus
kbeg.1 s could bea warming of
the Earth that is accelerating iat
Oar amlna nt oamiMs pace.
. _In 1989, 1 was old that i was
Do we think ithe Q a Mary very hot before Hurrica HLo bit
Highway trees on SL Croix were these islads. What causes hrdi.
planed by themselves? Or dtht he canes is Ihe warm air from the
large standf mahopy forest is ocean th ieract wth other ele.
the cemetery on SL Thomas just s. thus creating almosiph
app lobe thec? for a hurricane. Hrricaes ar he
r Ik mon part, native omnscrm oce'swayofreleaingheal.
valioists planted these Irces. A As trees grow, remove car.
good fried told me duing Ibe boa dioxide fo dthe air. sore car.
1930s lha schoolcildren played bon in the tres and the soil. ad
tres alot S. Croix roadsides. reese oxyea it e atmoseperc.
Today. we all beneit from these Te trees thereby produce caa ir
However, any of s do sol Duin he 1950,the U.S. Agri
ralf that tbe Esth's almospe c e Dupartment's Forestry Ser-
is andeficale ibleofapseslha vicestMaed a pboam oSLCix.
ineract witb plants adanls in It basically was he promotion of
k bkospher ysie to m main the lber id myau d eprodood
lthe k peen id maoiUitp cdi. li of local plaaingsltock.
Today, the St. Croix Environ.
mseal Associatio has a program
called V.I. Itleaf, which ies i
coammlty involved in planting
trees tdoug the island.
SEA has take steps to Set
Island Dairis to advertise th VJ.
RePka program, be it can be s
cessful only if everyone To get
involved, call SEAa 773-1989.
Remeaker. he tropical rain for.
cs is where the air is thick mist.
where tree frog sin, where isk
walk onto bad add lowes bloom
as big as fruit trees. is the hme
of balf of all living thigs on our
If destructio of those forests is
not cded, by Ik cod of this ceau-
ry, up to 20 percent of all life on
Earth will be destroyed. We can
save the Vgia Islnds rest land
by everyone plantig a tree.
Okwr Donvi, Wto sold c m
ear ex ee deogp i rag m.
greent and freN y fcoto, is a
SL. Croix ecologlsk, activist and
Ma 0d Nawa Wedieay, J 17.9I1
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