forest check tobago
What is Forest Check?
Forest Check is a programme to integrate you as an environmentally conscientious visitor to Tobago to collect and contribute invaluable data leading to improved conservation management. Additionally your participation continues to support the sustainable livelihoods of community members that are inherently dependent on healthy forest ecosystems in northeast Tobago. Forest Check invites you as a visitor to be actively engaged in an easy, enriching and educational activity that goes far beyond your standard forest tour.
Throughout the entire Caribbean region, Forest Check is currently only available in Tobago, and is a leading example of combining sustainable livelihoods with genuine conservation activities for everyone.
In August 2017 Forest Check was launched by the Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville in collaboration with prominent Tobago tour guides, with funding from the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, United Nations Development Programme. Forest Check is an innovative, globally unique initiative that offers you the privilege and opportunity to work with your tour guides and make a direct and tangible contribution to improving conservation and co-management of an historic forest ecosystem in the Caribbean.
conserving the Main Ridge Forest Reserve
Established on April 13th, 1776, the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve is recognised as the oldest legally protected forest reserve with a conservation objective: “for the purpose of attracting frequent showers of rain upon which the fertility of lands in these climates doth entirely depend”. At 3958 hectares, the reserve is arguably the defining feature of this small Caribbean island.
Through its continued protection the Main Ridge has become a refuge for biodiversity, a rainfall generator for the island as originally intended, and the basis for sustainable livelihood activities in the marginalised communities of northeast Tobago. Supporting globally significant levels of biodiversity, including 24 non-poisonous snake species, 16 lizard species and 210 species of bird, the Main Ridge attracts environmentalists and those seeking ecotourism and sustainable tourism in the Caribbean from all over the world.
Knowledgeable and passionate Tobago tour guides have been sharing the secrets of the forest with visitors for many years, reflected in the Main Ridge Forest Reserve being voted the “World’s Leading EcoTourism Destination” by the World Travel Awards from 2003 – 2006, and the "World's Leading Green Destination" in 2007 and 2009.
How does Forest Check work?
In the face of a changing climate and unprecedented rates of global biodiversity loss, developing and improving protected areas for biodiversity conservation and the promotion of environmental and social climate change resilience is becoming increasingly important. In order to do this, one challenge must be overcome: you cannot protect something if you don’t know what it is you’re protecting.
This is where Forest Check comes in.
A list of 35 indicators has been developed to include plant and animal species and human impacts, all of which are intrinsically connected and broadly represent the ecological function of the forest ecosystem. As a Forest Check participant you will work with your tour guide to record the status of these indicators and help to build a biodiversity database with essential information for improving protected area management in Tobago, monitoring biodiversity trends and the effects of climate change on a small island in the Caribbean.
Forest Check is a citizen science programme that requires only enthusiasm and a willingness to learn: your experienced Tobago tour guide will do the rest, ensuring a lot of fun, some forest education and a real chance to make a difference to conservation in the Caribbean.
Who is involved?
Five prominent Tobago tour guides have been specially trained as Forest Check leaders under this programme. All are members of the Trinidad and Tobago Tour Guides Association and all have been awarded the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Industry Certification.
what should i expect?
As you prepare to set off into the Main Ridge Forest Reserve your guide will introduce you to the easy Forest Check methodology, before sharing their expert knowledge to help you search for key indicators including the Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird, the Great Black Hawk and the Tobago False Coral Snake.
At the end of your Tobago Forest Tour your guide will collect your data and submit it to ERIC for incorporation into the growing Forest Check database.
what does it cost?
Participation in Forest Check is an additional US$25 per person on your Tour Guide's standard fee.
Please contact your Tour Guide directly via their website to make your booking.
For any tour enquiries, please contact your Tour Guide directly.
For any project enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.