The Falkland Islands Trust (UKFIT) says its activities to benefit the Islands have been reinvigorated by Princess Alexandra's first visit last year as Patron, which made the Trust's twentieth year rather special. The Trust's annual report for 2000, just published, says the visit has renewed interest in its consultancy and sponsorship activities.
The FIT reports good progress on its various initiatives. On Shelter Belts, it says trees in its five major schemes are "growing well". The latest, on Keppel Island, resulted in the planting of 2500 trees in just over a week, eleven different species in fourteen individual locations.
A coloured guidebook ? "Guidelines for Shelterbelt Planting in the Falkland Islands" - by Dr McAdam and Dr Alan Low, ex Forestry Commission, was produced by UKFIT and the Department of Agriculture, summarising the best available knowledge on tree planting and shelterbelt establishment.
The Alexandra Wood Project, named after Princess Alexandra, on her visit, is "flourishing" and "being developed as a quiet recreational area where visitors can see some of the Trust's activities at first hand". Links with Southern Chile, through the University of Magallanes, in Punta Arenas, and the Chilean Forestry R&D organisation (INFOR),are part of an ambitious tree research programme.
Cereal production is being intensified to fatten the increased numbers of cattle which it is hoped will become a part of rural life once the new abattoir begins operations next year. Seed has been distributed to three farms on West Falkland (Crooked Inlet, Shallow Harbour and Port Howard) to experiment with different varieties. The Trust continues to provide advice on use of kelp seaweed as a sustainable, organic fertiliser, and has helped set up a composting trial at Port Howard using sheep carcasses, kelp and peat..
Work has begun on a new Tussac grass programme that will form a central focus to the Trust's activities over the next few years, for Falklands economic gain to support enhanced, quality meat production.
The UKFIT expresses strong support for a project costing up 300-thousand pounds under consideration by the Falklands Government to complete a soil map and land use survey of the Falkland Islands.
In a re-think on the heavy damage inflicted on sheep by the protected rare bird of pray, the striated caracara (known locally as Johnny Rook), the Trust says it may become involved in a consultancy role.
The outgoing General Manager of the Falkland Islands Development Corporation, Hugh Normand, has recommended that the Trust should wi