Saving the Planet One Island at a Time
On many of the islands that constitute the Chagos Archipelago, situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean, powerful Makita chainsaws are being used to fell dense coconut plantations no longer farmed by a population that was relocated during the late 1960s.
In an opportunity to save this precious natural environment, where wildlife is abundant and the tropical marine environment has the world's largest coral atoll, the aim is to create a conservation area comparable with the Galapagos or Great Barrier Reef. The coral is pristine due to its isolated and unpolluted location.
The islands, some 55 of them ranging in size but still tiny, belong to the British Government. The largest island, Diego Garcia, is inhabited with British and US military and the islands occupy no more than eight square miles in an area of a quarter of a million square miles of the planets cleanest seas and it is here that a home is provided to 25% of the Earths fish species. It is a responsibility of the military personnel to safeguard the area, which is mostly protected from poachers, visitors and invasive species or other interference.
As part of a conservation programme the coconut plantations will be gradually replaced with the indigenous hardwoods - a continuous thinning programme is underway which can only take place over decades to avoid rapid erosion of the islands.
Makita chainsaws, already the choice of the MOD, have been selected for their robustness and capacity to operate in demanding conditions. The Makita DCS500 saws will be flown to the islands and used by military personnel who will be landing in heavy swell and whose access to the islands will be from the sea. This hardy equipment will withstand significant conditions to help carry out their precious reclamation programme.
The Makita DCS500 chainsaw has a 50cc 2-stroke low emission engine with electronic ignition that runs on unleaded fuel and generates 3.3hp and ample torque to drive the 3/8inch semi chisel chain over the 45cm long chain bar. Weighing just 5.5kg this powerful chainsaw has an automatic chain brake and 2-mass anti vibration hand grip mounted on spring loaded fulcrums which effectively separates the motor drive from the handles to protect the operator from vibrations when the machine is in use. The machines will be supplied with professional protective chainsaw gloves, trousers, helmets and boots.
This initiative is being carried out by the Chagos Conservation Trust (CCT), a well established and entirely voluntary charitable society which promotes conservation and related science in respect of the Chagos Archipelago. Together with the British Government they are committed to conserving the environment of the territory. Chagos has been designated a Ramsar site, that is an area of wetlands of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention, on the basis of proposals from CCT. The British Government has undertaken to manage the area as if it were a natural World Heritage Site.
For more information please visit www.chagos-trust.org