Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Rain forest threatened
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 Material Information
Title: Rain forest threatened
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: July 23, 1993
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00038
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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The Dally News, Friday. July 23. 1993

Rain forest
Several environmental editorial
programs are planned for the sum-
mer and my office phone has been
ringing off the book to schedule
rain forest hikes for kids.
To many island children, the
rain forest is like a jungle with tall
trees reaching for the sky, many.
birds and wild animals.
On forest hikes, children learn
about forest conservation and the
ipiportance of forests to man and
wildlife. However,'one of the most
distinctive features of the rain forest
on St. Croix are the vines that hang
from trees,
Vines play a vital role in our rain
frestl's ecosystem. They serve as
food, transportation for wildlife and
medicine for humans. Trees grow
for support, vines grow for mobili-
ty, foraging for light while using
trees for a support system. Some
vines'like Philodendron change
forms as they mature. Scientists
believe that vines respond to change
in light, temperature, humidity and

16 Environment



Our environment

perhaps gravity as the plant climbs
onto trees.
The St. Croix rain forest used to
be decorated with vines hanging
from the top of trees to the forest
floor. This was visible to residents
driving through the strip of forest
from Springfield Road to
Mahogany Road and into the Fred-
eriksted area. Today, there arc hard-
ly any hanging vines left in this part
of the forest but hikers can still see
the vinesin the. deep Caledonia
Valley forest northeast of.Frederik-
sted town.
In 1989, Hurricane Hugo devas-
See TREES, page 16

The Daily News, Friday, July 23. 1993

TREES: When we hurt rain forest, we hurt the economy

(Continued from page IS)
tatled the rain forest. Many large
trees were killed, changing the
whole ecology of the forest. Tree
barks and leaves were stripped off.
Like everything in life, nature
heals itself. However, the major
threat to the St. Croix rain forest is
In the mid It80s, telephone
poles were planted in the Mahogany
Road forest area where trees were

cut to run electrical wires.
Later, a subdivision in the Estate
Orange Grove forest area was
curved out for development.
Today, we have bush cutting
machines ih the Mahogany Road
forest areas cutting back bushes.
The problem with this type of
operation is that large trees arc
being damaged. If this process con-
tinues. the large irees will die from

Trees were also cut in the
Crcqcu Dam rain forest area to
widen parts of the road. Many
medicinal plants and seedlings were
It really hurts to see this. As a
people, we do not realize that we
Cause more problems in the forest
by changing the very environment
that sustained trees for years.
Trees or vines in the Crequc
Dam forest area should never be cut

back to the point where such action
could change the ecology of the for-
Also, the road should never be
paved in this area because that
would only cause more environ-
menial problems in the long run.
Costa Rica is protecting its rain
forest which is a major tourist
Visitors help support the local
economy by staying in hotels, eat-

ing at restaurants, hiring local
guides for rain forests hikes and
buying local goods.
How many of us today know
that when trees hurt, our whole
economy hurts too.

Olasee Davis, who holds a mas-
ter of science degree in range man-
agement and forestry ecology, is a
Sr. Croix ecologist, activist and



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