Bonaire is an island found in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea.
It's less than a hundred miles off the north coast of South America, near the western part of Venezuela.
This site is characterized by rolling hills and a small, seasonal stream. It already had a high presence of mature and diverse trees who now provide shade to newly planted trees. In the few open patches of ground, trees that can withstand more sunlight and extreme weather conditions have been planted into the bare soil. The interesting mix of current and newly planted vegetation and its visibility from the Washington-Slagbaai Park exit route make this reforestation site an exciting and accessible one to visit.
This site is characterized by an undulating terrain, with the same Rooi (stream) running through the middle of it as the one that enters into the Slagbaai site. Reforestation of this area will help protect against soil runoff from erosion by increasing the amount of roots and organic matter. growing along the stream bank Because it is situated within the Washington side of the park where goats are still allowed, it will serve as a research site for demonstrating the impact of invasive herbivores on native vegetation.
"Off the beaten path," this site can be found en route to Salina Frans. While less visible and accessible, it could serve as a natural nursery for the reforestation of surrounding areas where the removal of invasive herbivores has been planned. This relatively flat site possessed a reasonable diversity of established native vegetation, growing in a rich, deep soil making selective reforestation of rarer or under-represented species the priority. Interestingly, it had historically been used for farming since a broken dam was found within the site.
This site was a highly degraded area along Kaminda Onima, the main road between Kralendijk and Rincon (the two main urban centres). It was formerly a government-run agricultural field for growing livestock fodder, but has since been cleared of nearly all its vegetation by numerous free-roaming goats and donkeys who over time broke through its eroding fence. The absence of vegetation prior to planting presented the opportunity to explore the impact of reforestation from the pioneer phase. Because of its high visibility from the road, this site is exemplary in demonstrating the challenges and successes that come from reforestation efforts.
Encompassing a previously designated natural area who up until this point was under attack from free-roaming goats, this site is characterized by a hard limestone substrate. To reforest this site, tree species who prefer this type of ground and can also withstand saltier air and more extreme weather were carefully selected for planting. This site is visible from the coastal scenic road and has a lightly shaded concrete walking path running down one side of it which makes it a nice one to stop and visit.
The Salina Tam site is found on the north end of Bonaire, slightly northwest of BOPEC (the oil containment facility). It is directly adjacent to a recently abandoned diabas mine (where soil was collected for construction purposes). The area is characterized by a low, monotonous shrub layer and columnar cacti growing throughout in silty soils. Its proximity to the coast increases its exposure to salty air, but trees who can withstand these conditions were carefully selected for the reforestation of this site.
At the top of Seru Largu, encompassed by a publicly accessible road, this patch of land has been significantly degraded by a high density of free-roaming goats. This site is located within the southern corner of Bonaire's higher limestone terraces and plateaus, which are some of the least protected and yet the most significant for rare flora since their inaccessibility saved them from historic logging efforts. This site not only protects the few remaining rare species of mature trees that are found there, it will also call attention to the importance of reforestation and negative impacts caused by invasive herbivores by being directly adjacent to a parcel of land that is still exposed.
This area is situated opposite of the Morotin landfill on a main dirt road connecting the coast (and the windmill area) with the village of Rincon. The current degradation of the vegetation as well as the position of the exclosure area close to the village of Rincon offers the possibility to restore habitat and raising public awareness. The canopy cover is dominated by species introduced by the bird’s intense activities. However, we have re-introduced several rare species that produce wild fruits and other key native species to increase the biodiversity of the site.
Kunuku Yerba di Seru
The reforestation exclusion areas is in the middle of the rural area of Rincon. This area is highly interesting because of the amount of Kunuku’s by which it is surrounded. Although the presence of the Yellow-Shouldered amazon parrot (Amazonia barbadensis) is high in the Kunuku area of Rincon, there are not many natural foraging areas for this parrot to take refuge causing them to feed on the Kunuku crops. The fairly degraded vegetation structure has a big potential to be developed into a high biodiversity area, as there are many rare tree species present in the undergrowth and in the direct surroundings.
The area is easily accessible by road through the south entrance of the Washington-Slagbaai national park, but on the other hand secluded enough to preserve wildlife and first stage regeneration of trees and plants. From this area you can have a great look over the Goto Lake, which is home and nesting spot of many migratory birds including Flamingo’s (Phoenicopterus). Habitat restoration here will help against erosion into the lake and especially public awareness by giving visitors a completely different opinion of the usually dry and thorny vegetation type in Bonaire national park. As the area is well known feeding and roosting zone of the Yellow-Shouldered amazon parrot (Amazonia barbadensis) it covers all of our reforestation goals.
This exclusion area was funded by the European Commission, through the BEST 2.0. Programme. The site is a unique canyon and part of a large watershed called Rooi Sangu, an important natural heritage site and recognised for its importance to biodiversity. The area is characterised by steep cliffs in which bats may live and parrots and barn owls seasonally nest; large, mature hardwood tree species which serve as food and roosting sites for a diversity of birds; and a deep valley from which surface water flows out over a protected marine reserve. The proposed protected area will include higher and middle terraces, a valley and a portion of a watershed that runs out to a marine reserve. Fences will be constructed to exclude herbivores from the site while specific native tree and plant species that are absent or under-represented will be reintroduced. A trail system will be developed for education and tourism purposes to increase the opportunity for visitors and residents alike to explore and enjoy nature.