Reports and Documents
We will briefly review relevant reports and documents about the Gardens, and, where feasible, we will provide hotlinks to the original documents. These need not be documents whose foci are exclusively on the Gardens. They may also be documents where a specific chapter or section provides substantive discussion of the Gardens or information about it.
If you are aware of any such documents, please bring them to our attention.
The most recent addition to the literature on the Gardens is Scribal Consultancy’s Master Plan for the rehabilitation of the Botanic Gardens. In 1979, hurricane David hit Dominica, and the Dominica Botanic Gardens suffered extensive damage with the destruction of many of its valuable local and exotic trees. Since then, aside from the ornamental plants section, the economic plants section, “The Back,” has largely been abandoned. However, early in 2006, Scribal Consultancy Services and Historical Tours of St Lucia was awarded a contract to develop A Master Plan for the rehabilitation of the Gardens. In April, Scribal submitted a Preliminary Assessment report (click here) which collated opinions from various stakeholders and provided the consultant’s preliminary analysis for the Master Plan. In June, Scribal presented the First Interim Report – The Physical Development Plan (click here). The Report discussed the physical layout of the Gardens, its infrastructure, and importantly, its locational and traffic considerations. It concludes that the current condition of the Gardens and its environs need significant improvement for the Gardens to play its needed social, cultural and economic roles. The Report discussed four “Practical Development options stemming from the short to medium and long terms.” This was confusing. A more critical reading of this Report suggests that these so-called “options” are more like four stages of a long-term plan. In August 2006, Scribal completed the Second Interim Report – The Institutional Development Plan (click here). This discussed the institutional arrangements that will be required for the effective management and continued development of the Gardens. It consisted of seven broad sections including the core Institutional Framework, a Marketing Strategy, a Financial Plan, and a Policy on Ecotourism Development. For a brief comment on this Second Interim Report click here.
Scribal presented the Final Report to Government in September 2006 titled Master Plan for the Roseau Botanic Gardens, Dominica (click here). Overall, it is quite a good Report. Among its several recommendations, it reiterates the need to re-establish the old economic crops section with “plants of economic interest,” it proposes the construction of a lily pond; it recommends relocation of excess buildings and non-Gardens activities outside the Gardens; it recommends provision of parking facilities for tour buses, and a visitor center with cafeteria, a gift shop and washroom facilities. It also provides a wealth of photos illustrating Scribal’s vision and recommendations. For updates and brief discussions of Scribal's Master Plan as it progressed, click here.
An Illustrated Guide to Dominica's Botanic Gardens by Arlington James, 2007, 84p is an excellent report, with terse, concise plant descriptions and beautiful, clear photos. The document is quite comprehensive, though it does not take the walking-tour approach of the traditional Guide. While focusing on plants, describing 90 of the most spectacular and beautiful trees and shrubs in the Gardens, it also gives some interesting insight into the birds and other fauna found there. In addition, the document provides fascinating information on indigenous plant uses and local plant anecdotes. The index of common and scientific names gives a user-friendly element. These all make the Guide quite an absorbing, casual read as well. In the colonial days, Joseph Jones, the then British Curator of the Dominica Botanic Gardens, wrote an excellent Guide to the plants of the Gardens in 1924 (see below). Much has changed since, and another Guide of that quality was sorely needed. It is gratifying that this new Guide is now available. It is a significant contribution to information on the Gardens and the literature on Dominica. [Available at the Forestry Division and the Public Library, Roseau.] Another excellent report is: Official Guide to the Botanic Gardens, Dominica. 1924? 59p. The document is an invaluable resource about the Gardens in general, and the original plants in particular. The first part of the document briefly discusses the history, objectives, location, and climate of the Gardens. The second part is the Itinerary, a tour of the Gardens beginning at the northern gate. The third section discusses the manurial and other trials taking place on the experimental plots. The fourth and last section is the index. There are several photographs. The Itinerary is particularly interesting. It identifies and gives a detailed account of all the local and exotic trees and shrubs in the Gardens in the early 1920s, their rough location, with brief discussions of the more noteworthy plants. The extensive index enhances the utility of the document tremendously. The document is not dated nor is the author identified. But based on the statistics contained and the level of detail and familiarity, some authorities have ascribed its authorship to Joseph Jones - the prime developer of the Gardens and curator for 32 years, 1892-1924 - and the publication date as 1924 (eg. NY Public Library). [available in the archives of the New York Public Library, Kew Gardens, UK, and the Public Library, Roseau]
Another interesting guide is the one by Jack Charest and Penny N. Honychurch, A General Guide to the Botanic Gardens of Dominica, Ministry of Agriculture, Dominica 1977, 10p. This Guide is relatively concise in comparison to the Official Guide. Unfortunately, it was done just before the 1979 hurricane which destroyed some of the trees it describes. Despite this, this Guide still touches many of the major trees that have defined the beauty of the Gardens, essentially the high points, making it ideal for a quick tour. Equally important, the relatively accurate descriptions of the trees and their locations make the Guide easy to follow. [available at the Forestry Division and the Public Library, Roseau].
A quite informative report is The Roseau Botanical Gardens and Peripheral Link Project by Kim Thurlow, Yale University 2001. This is an analysis of the proposed Link Project
The link to the Riverbank and the historical district was based on the assumption that it was "impossible to develop the Botanical Gardens without taking the whole city into consideration." The historical background on the Gardens is interesting, but recommendations for the Gardens proper are few. The Report is primarily focused on the stakeholders, and the problems, conflicts of interest, and the politics of Gardens redevelopment and improvement. Another interesting report, Roseau Link – Botanic Gardens by Lennox Honychurch, powerpoint, Roseau, Dominica, undated (ca. 2004), 11p, focused on development needs of the Gardens, such as labeling and replanting of trees, public conveniences, a children’s playground, a jogging trail, and a visitor center. The document also included several old photos illustrating what the Gardens looked like in its heyday, together with maps of past and current recommendations for Gardens’ improvement. A brief but quite useful document, focusing on the necessary essentials for Gardens rehabilitation and modernization. [Document available at the Public Library, Roseau]
Another very informative document is Sowing the Seed, by Arlington A. James, 1999, 32p, a chronological survey of forest industry in Dominica beginning in the eighteenth century, and the history of the Forestry Division and its evolution. Among the subjects discussed are several refering to the establishment, development and management of the Botanic Gardens, including dates of the major pieces of legislation pertaining to the Gardens. An interesting feature of the document is its references to the people who played pivotal roles in forestry development in Dominica, and in the establishment and management of the Gardens. This recognition of the critical role of the people who made things happen, lifts the document from an interesting retelling of facts to a more absorbing human drama; and sets the stage for their achievements to be emulated. [Document available at the Forestry Division, and at the Public Library, Roseau]
In the field of birds (click here), the book, Dominica’s Birds, by Arlington James, Stephen Durand and Bertrand Jno.Baptiste, 2005, is a unique publication. It provides exquisite photographs of the birds of Dominica, together with bird descriptions and discussions of habitat and nesting; and it integrates these with the distinctive island folklore, village stories, proverbs and phrases pertaining to individual birds -- a singularly informative and intriguing document. In his Preface to the book, Dr. Herbert A. Raffaele, Chief, Division of International Conservation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, says, “It is with great pleasure that I salute the efforts of .. [the authors] .. for producing this outstanding work.” [Document available at the Forestry Division, and at the Public Library, Roseau]
Other reports and documents include –
Preface - How it Began
Introduction to Website
A Brief History
Plan of Gardens
Trees, Shrubs, Birds:
Selected Trees and Shrubs
Florida's Fairchild Garden
Birds of the Gardens
Three Virtual Tours
Panoramic Views Today
Early Panoramic Views
Hurricane David's Ravages
Reports and Documents
Treasures of the Cathedral
Diaspora Policy Paper
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