The Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division have added its voice to those expressing concerns about the extended drought-like conditions facing the country.
Acting Director of Forestry, Wildlife & Parks Ronald Charles said officials are particularly concerned with the high incidence of bush fires that has become a daily occurrence in the west and south-west regions of Dominica.
“The frequently occurring incidence of bush fires, such as what we are currently experiencing are extremely dangerous, not only to human life and property, but indeed to Dominica’s natural environment. In particular, there has to be concern for Dominica’s wildlife that inhabits the dry west coast and south-west regions of Dominica,” he said.
According to Charles, bush fires cause much harm to the feeding and nesting areas of birds, crabs, iguana, snakes and other animals, and also destroy such creatures. “Bush fires destroy native plant species and create conditions for the introduction and rapid spread of invasive species. Already we see examples of this phenomenon along the west coast where the native species of plants have been replaced by large expanses of lemon grass locally known as mulch,” he added.
According to him, bush fires cause great destruction to soil nutrients, resulting in changes in the soil texture and physical conditions.
“Once the physical condition of the soil has changed, then the area becomes prone to incidents of land slippage and the subsequent loss of top soil from accelerated and increased run-off. Importantly, bush fires releases large quantities of Carbon dioxide and soot into the atmosphere. This can result in respiratory problems and a nuisance for residents of neighboring communities,” he added.
Utmost care must therefore be taken by farmers, motorists and residents alike to avoid or reduce on the incidence of bush fires, according to Charles.
– DNO Correspondent