2011 International Year of Forests – Forests: natural areas at risk

Forests are at risk. Everywhere in the world. Also on Curacao. Television and newspapers often talk about impacts on forests, they are cut down, burned away, bulldozered, they are robbed of their plant and animal species and so forth. Terms such as loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, degradation and erosion are all used when the threats to forests are illustrated. But what does this all mean? What does actually happen when a piece of forest is removed while many pieces […] Read more »

2011 International Year of Forests – Cacti, special trees

‘Cacti’, that’s the answer you’ll most likely get when you ask any tourist or even a visiting ‘Yu di Korsou’ what characterizes our ‘mondi’. The answer is a little shortsighted, but you can not blame them. The most picturesque plant on the island is indeed the cactus, and especially the columnar ones. Kadushi’s, Datu and Kadushi di Pushi’s are the three species of native cacti you will encounter at various places on the island. For those who do not know […] Read more »

2011 International Year of Forests – Trees in the history of Curacao

No islanders without trees Our history revolves around trees. Without trees everything in the world would have turned out totally different. Without the timber the ship-builders needed to built their ocean-going creations, the Indians would have never reached our islands, and the great sailing ships of the Armada of the Spaniards would have never crossed the Atlantic in search of another route to the rich Indies. Those ‘upgraded’ trees brought people to the ‘other side’ of the world, where they […] Read more »

2011 International Year of Forests – Sick? Swallow a tree!

The struggle to become a tree Suppose you’re a tree. After having passed through the intestinal tract of some animal and then being deposited in the middle of nowhere, covered with a thick layer of dung, you gently extend your first fragile roots after a good rainshower. With great difficulty your roots penetrate the thin layer of humus to finally locate adequate soil in which they can anchor themselves firmly. In a desperate attempt to make your own food you […] Read more »

2011 International Year of Forests – a tree through a magnifying glass

Differences among trees No forest without trees. That’s a given. Forests consist of trees, different species of trees in all shapes and sizes. They all have their own properties. One is almost 5000 years old and still lives on happily while the other has lived its life in less than 10 years. Some species grow to more than 115 meters high, the Coast Redwood in Redwood National Park in the U.S. is one example, and others are no bigger than […] Read more »

2011 International Year of Forests – a forest through a magnifying glass

Forests come in all shapes and sizes. On every continent except Antarctica, there are forests. But – logically – the types of forests and their associated characteristics and appearance differ in various parts of the world. Rain forest is found in tropical Central and South America, deciduous forest in Europe and coniferous forests in the colder regions of the world. Nothing is what it seems, though. Especially in the case of forests you will often see differences between patches of […] Read more »

2011 International Year of Forests – Micro-climates in a tree

Micro-climate – the definition Search for the word climate in the dictionary and you’ll get the following description: “Average atmospheric and meteorological conditions in a given area over a long period of at least 30 years”. Enter the word micro-climate and you’ll get a lot of different definitions ranging from “climate in the bottommost layer of air (up to 2 m above the ground), dominated by the contact with the earth’s surface,” to “a micro-climate occurs when the conditions on […] Read more »

2011 International Year of Forests – ‘undergrowth’ and ‘canopy’

When you travel to Latin America or the Caribbean as a tourist, almost everywhere you’ll get offers for a tour with the charming title “Canopy Tour”. Costa Rica as well Suriname, Puerto Rico, and a whole set of other islands in the Caribbean are known to offer this lucrative activity. When you decide to participate you will be strapped into a kind of harness and hooked up to a so called “zipline” you’ll then ‘fly’ through the treetops of forests, […] Read more »

2011 International Year of Forests – the Amazon

Amazon, ‘sexy’ forests There is no tropical rainforest in the world as famous as the Amazon forest, an area of ​​approximately 7 million square kilometers where more than half of all rainforest in the world resides. This tropical jungle is spread out over nine different countries. The main part is in Brazil with 60% of the total area but it also extends to Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Guyana, Venezuela, Suriname, Ecuador and French Guyana. The great diversity of flora and fauna […] Read more »

2011 International Year of Forests: forests and climate

The lungs of the earth Forests worldwide do more than just provide a habitat (a place to live) for plants and animals. The large numbers of trees and other plants in forests supply the oxygen that humans and other animals so desperately need to survive. The name “lungs of the earth” is often used. During this process of oxygen production the tree will take up large amounts of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in its leaves, which through a chemical process, called […] Read more »