Tobago – The Oldest Protected Forest Reserve in the World

The Undiscovered Caribbean

Tobago boasts the oldest protected forest reserve in the world – the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve. The Forest Reserve was founded on April 13th, 1776 by a legal ordinance that states that the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve is “for the purpose of attracting frequent showers of rain upon which the fertility of lands in these climates doth entirely depend.” It is alleged that Soame Jenyns, a member of the British parliament, was responsible for influencing the passing of the ordinance. Jenyns’ main responsibilities were trade and plantation and was influenced by the notions of the British scientist Stephen Hales who demonstrated the reslationship between the forest and rainfall. It took Jenyns more than a decade to persuade the governing authority that this was a valid project.

Scientific American states “…that the protection of Tobago’s forest was the first act in the modern environmental movement”. This can be considered a historical pioneering milestone in the area of environmental conservation and preservation. The legacy is the thriving of the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve itself.

Learn more about the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve in this article.