Conservation at Welchman Hall Gully
The Native Plant Project
Over-development of Barbados has put enormous pressure on the island’s flora and fauna. Natural habitats are disappearing, but Welchman Hall Gully provides a place of refuge for these endangered plants and animals.
There are about 650 species of flowering plants growing wild in Barbados, but only two of these are endemics, that is, found just in Barbados.
These are broom weed (phyllanthus andersonii) and metastelma barbadensa. Broom weed is found at the gully and elsewhere, but metastelma barbadensa (it doesn’t have a common name) has not been seen for at least 20 years.
Reviatlise Barbadian Flora About 200 of the 650 species growing wild are in Welchman Hall Gully. A third of these are native – the rest have been introduced since colonisation.
The Native Plant Project was set up to revitalise Barbadian flora through conservation, education and research and was kick-started via a grant from the American Embassy in 2010.
The Ministry of Environment added further funds in 2013 and collection has begun in earnest.
The aim of the native plant project is to:
- Reintroduce native plants into their original habitat
- To preserve native plants
- Develop and conservation of gully plants in situ
- Create an area where scientific research can be carried out on native plants
- Contribute to the preservation and conservation of gullies and gene pools of plants, highlighting the need of terrestrial protected areas
- Establish a stock of native plants for use by gardeners and landscapers in order to help reintroduction.
Cuttings About 20 vines, herbs and shrubs were cultivated from cuttings and seedlings as part of the Native Plant Project. They were planted in a sunny flower bed around the car park of the gully.
A second section inside the gully has been reserved for other wild plants found on the island which require less sun and more shade.
In 2015 a group of university students took cuttings from plants found in Turner’s Hall Wood. Many of these cuttings were successfully grown and when ready will be transplanted to the gully.
More island-wide collections are planned.