St. Croix Tree Inventory and Hazard Tree Assessment; Preliminary Results

The casual observer may think the roadside tree population of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands would be rich in diversity because the island lies in the sub tropics. Geographic Consulting recently completed a two year project to assess the major roadside trees of St. Croix, covering approximately 150 miles of roads. The assessment covered the diversity of species as well as individual tree health and hazardous tree conditions. Periodic project reports on the data were created and are available for view, print or download right here under the heading “Roadside Tree Hazard Report”.  The results were somewhat surprising to us as well as our partners, the Virgin Islands Resource Conservation Council (RC&D), International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF), the St. Croix Environmental Council (SEA), the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) and the Virgin Islands Public Works Department.


Genip (Meliococcus bijugatus), a popular tree which provides a delicious fruit dominates the roadside tree structure at 30% of the total population. Not surprisingly, the population of Mahoganies trees (Swietenia mahogani, & S. macrophylla) accounts for another 30% of the total population. Two genera represent an incredible 60% of the roadside tree population. This is far from an ideal distribution for roadside/urban trees, according to standard arboriculture practices which recommend no more than 10% of one species. Focusing on genip, we find many young trees in poor health and posing greater hazards to roads, power lines and other targets. In other words, the trees are not being planned or planted and  powerline conflicts will increase in the future. With the recent completion of the draft roadside tree management plan, Geographic Consulting has identified a vigorous planting plan to take advantage of plantable spaces that exist and will exist in the future to diversify the tree population and start to manage the roadside trees like an urban forest.

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