Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Saving Rainforest On Saint John

Day three of Biodiversity Law began early, checking a live-trapline for Cuban Tree Frogs. Then, we popped over to the island of Saint John to see a huge newly-preserved swatch of rainforest near Maho Bay. The students explain:

We woke up extra early today to meet Renata Platenberg at the top of the trailhead at Magen's Bay to hike down to Magen's Bay Beach. The watershed above Magen's Bay Beach is owned by the Nature Conservancy, which also maintains a trail through the rainforest in that area. We went to observe Renata collecting data on invasive Cuban tree frogs that threaten the native frogs on the island. We found a lot of Cuban tree frogs in the artificial habitats as we descended through different types of rainforest and mangroves down to the beach. We were lucky enough to enjoy a short swim in the clear, clear blue waters before we hopped the ferry to St. John to visit with John Garrison of the Trust for Public Land. John described the recent acquisition of a 420-acre parcel of the island for conservation purposes. The Trust for Public Land used rules of property law cleverly to secure the entire parcel despite the parcel being an undivided interest. The land will ultimately be conveyed
to the National Park Service so that it can become part of the Virgin Islands National Park, which covers over half of St. John. This trip showed us another way of using the law to preserve biodiversity.

Tomorrow we head across The Channel to Britain - The British Virgin Island of Jost Van Dyke - to visit the Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society.


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