Division of Forestry Stewardship and Conservation
The Division of Forest Stewardship programs are federally funded through the USDA – Forest Service – International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Three programs are included under these grants and agreements: Forest Stewardship, Forest Legacy, and Urban and Community Forestry.
The Forest Stewardship Program of the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture has provided technical assistance to forest landowners in the Territory since 1998. Through such assistance, the Program promotes the wise use and active management of forest resources in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Forest Stewardship/Legacy Coordinator and Urban and Community Acting Coordinator: Louis Hilgemann
340-778-0998 ext. 240
The Forest Legacy Program seeks to identify and preserve land in a forested state, either through outright purchase or by purchase of easements or deed restrictions that limit development on the land. This program identifies landowners in six priority areas on the three main islands who are willing to sell their property (or development rights to their property) in order to preserve the forested land in perpetuity. This year a management plan was developed for Estate Northstar property to develop a trail system for the park that will be open to the public. The Department received $41,000.00 for Forest Legacy Administration in FY2016 and expects to receive $41,000.00 in FY2018.
The Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Assistance Program is designed to encourage citizen involvement in urban and community forestry projects throughout the Territory. The U&CF Program seeks proposals for project funding from local government, nonprofit organizations, and civic and/or educational organizations, including but not limited to schools, homeowners’ associations, service clubs, and environmental organizations. Projects are funded in the areas of local government program development or improvement, demonstration or site-specific projects, and information and education projects. Groups are awarded funds up to $20,000 and must match the awarded amount on a 1-to-1 basis; match can be met through volunteer time, donated materials, or cash.
One sub-grantee of the program this year was the Christiansted Community Alliance. Their project was the rehabilitation of several trees in the historic district of Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI. This project focused on the trees located in the Hendricks Market Square, the traditional marketplace of downtown Christiansted. The trees were trimmed and their health was assessed. The project included removing asphalt and cement paving from around three large trees and replacing it with permeable pavement. The permeable pavement allows water to flow into the soil and thus directly to the trees’ roots. During stormwater events, this paving also helps prevent flooding by directing the stormwater into the permeable paving beneath the trees. A second project was the development of a handbook on the trees and plants of St. John.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of St. John created a photographic handbook showing the whole plant, its flowers, fruit, seeds, and leaves to facilitate their identification for the use of the public on St. John and elsewhere. The 90-page handbook identifies plants by their location and by their flower color, type of seed, and characteristics of the fruit. The handbook also includes information on trees and plants with thorns and spines as well as dangerous trees and plants. The Department expects to $113,500.00 for FY2016 and expects to receive $100,000.00 for FY2018.