Forestry head would like to see a greener Kingstown
Director of Forestry, Fitzgerald Providence
May 24, 2024

Forestry head would like to see a greener Kingstown

Kingstown is known as the ‘city of arches’. Faced with rising temperatures, this little cobblestone city may be on the brink of becoming a heat island, and Forestry officials are championing for more green urban spaces.

Director of Forestry, Fitzgerald Providence told SEARCHLIGHT that evidence of this need is clear, as he pointed to the number of people who flock under the trees lining the Richmond Hill Road near to the Peace Memorial Hall, which were planted “between five to ten years go” by the Forestry department, in collaboration with the Young Leaders of the St Joseph Convent, Kingstown.

Providence quipped whether any of these students may now be able to identify a particular tree they had planted, but added that “their little contribution some years ago…has value”.

Providence noted that the trees have become such a necessity that people are now selling under them seeking shade from the heat and “…they are making a livelihood”.

“There was a big flamboyant [tree] that fell over there, and people struggled in that area until we planted two poui [trees] and when they came back, people started to cluster under them, persons started to sell things under there.”

Replanting the trees did not come without problems; people damaged the young trees which hindered their growth, and ultimately led the forestry department to place a fence around the saplings “to ensure that persons won’t pull at them”. However, “as soon as they started to gain some height, persons started to congregate”.

Providence said damaging the young plants is a habit. “…they’ll abuse them, but as soon as it flourishes persons occupy it, and if those trees go, where would people shelter from the hot sun during the day?”

The forestry official noted that because there is so much concrete in Kingstown, it tends to remain hot at the end of the day after the sun sets.

“If you walk along Bay Street in the afternoon, when you walk next to the buildings, there’s a radiation of heat coming at you.”

With added green spaces and shade for these buildings, “there won’t be that much heat,” Providence said.

Additionally, heated concrete tends to have an impact on the local climate, “because we have what you call these heat islands where a lot of concrete and asphalt produce heat after the sun is gone”, a problem which can be drastically reduced if a concerted effort to ‘green the town’ by planting trees is undertaken.