Matura National Park Biological Survey

Forest & Resource Use


  • Source the history of land use, communities and resource use in the area
  • Identify and map land use and land types / vegetation types forest types within the landscape
  • Identify which forest resources are used and who uses them
  • Identify where natural resources are sourced
  • Identify the value and importance of resources to users
  • Identify spatial and seasonal patterns of resource use and availability
  • Gather local knowledge related to forest resources and their status
  • Identify access to and governance of resources
  • Assess expectations and views on Matura National Park

The use of the forest and its resources (plants, trees, animals, rivers, scenery, etc.) is studied through participatory and ethnobiological research in seven communities around Matura National Park, as well as with users from outside like hunters, tour guides, visitors, etc.

Matura National Park is surrounded by a larger forest area and positioned within the larger region of north-eastern Trinidad. Resource use within the park is influenced by resource use in the region. Use of resources therefore also needs to be studied within the larger region, with an aim to distinguish which uses occur within the park and which outside. E.g. timber extraction may only take place in forest outside the park.
Selected communities for research are Matelot, Grande Rivière, Sans Souci, Toco, Anglais, Rampanalgas and Salybia.

In each community group forums are held with men, women and children to assess past and present land use; the importance and value of land types, natural resources and species; resource access and governance; seasonality of resource use; and aspirations regarding resource use. These are assessed for the wider area of northeastern Trinidad using tools such as participatory mapping, scoring, timelines, calendars and transect walkswas
Forest resource use is studied in detail through semi-structured interviews with minimum 20 key informants (forest users or people with specialist environmental knowledge). Interviews focus on quantification and valuation of forest and resource use; time allocation, marketing, seasonality and views and aspirations on Matura National Park and nature conservation.

In order to place forest use within the context of the entire population, a random household survey will be done using questionnaires, with 30 to 50 households in each community. These focus on forest and resource use and views and aspirations on Matura National Park and nature conservation.

The survey was led by Dr. Veerle Van den Eynden. Community participants in the survey are Shonel O'neil, Aqeel Harper and Brian Koonhow of Salybia; Winston Thomas of Rampanalgas; Angel Taylor and Kristy Bruce of Toco; Marcia Barker of Grande Rivière; and Renwick Roberts of Matelot.


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