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The importance of forest cover for water supplies in mountainous Caribbean Islands

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The importance of forest cover to watershed management in the Caribbean Islands is indicated by an example from St. Vincent in the Lesser Antilles. As early as 1791, the King’s Hill Reserve was set aside purportedly to attract clouds and rain for the benefit of land owners in the vicinity (Birdsey et al. 1986). Moreover, a 1912 proclamation on the same island was aimed at protecting forest lands above 1,000 feet (about 300 m) in elevation, the source of the island’s water supplies. Similar proclamations were issued on other islands in the Lesser Antilles. In the interim, St. Vincent’s population has grown considerably as have the residents’ demands for domestic and commercial water supplies (See Box, p.227).
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico.

Publication date: December 1, 2002

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