12 Additional Areas to be Declared Forest Reserves

Photo: Donald De La Haye Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz.

Story Highlights

  • Twelve additional areas of forests, totalling 1,862.74 hectares, are to be declared as forest reserves.
  • This follows approval of the Forest Reserves Orders during Tuesday’s (Jan. 24) sitting of the House of Representatives.
  • Six of the forest reserves are to be located in Hanover. They are the Hazelymph Forest Reserve; Cacoon Castle Forest Reserve; Newfound River Forest Reserve; Burnt Ground Forest Reserve, and the Tryall Forest Reserve, which is the only private property to be declared.

Twelve additional areas of forests, totalling 1,862.74 hectares, are to be declared as forest reserves.

This follows approval of the Forest Reserves Orders during Tuesday’s (Jan. 24) sitting of the House of Representatives.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, who tabled the Orders, said providing legal protection of forested areas through the declaration of these lands as forest reserves is in keeping with the Government’s drive to conserve the country’s biodiversity.

“Protecting these areas will help to reduce pressures on our forest biological diversity, promote sustainable use and support livelihoods,” he said.

Six of the forest reserves are to be located in Hanover. They are the Hazelymph Forest Reserve; Cacoon Castle Forest Reserve; Newfound River Forest Reserve; Burnt Ground Forest Reserve, and the Tryall Forest Reserve, which is the only private property to be declared.

St. Thomas will be home to another two protected areas – Blue Mountain 2 Forest Reserve; and Bowden Pen Forest Reserve.

The others are the Horseguard Forest Reserve in St. James; Bogue 2 Forest Reserve in St. Ann; Amity Mountain Forest Reserve in Westmoreland; and the Oxford Forest Reserve in Manchester.

In the meantime, Mr. Vaz informed that the draft Forest Policy for Jamaica 2015 proposes that the activities for which forest reserves may be utilised will be streamlined.

These will include the conservation of natural forests and biodiversity, used for highly regulated ecotourism and recreational activities, and scientific research including sustainable management of forest resources.

Under Section 5 of the Forest Act 1996, the Minister has authority, subject to affirmative resolution, to declare as forest reserves, any State lands or any private lands if the owner applies in writing for such a declaration.

The Forestry Department is mandated under the Forest Act, 1996 to sustainably manage and effectively conserve forested State land in Jamaica. The agency manages approximately 116,862 hectares of land, of which 99,504 hectares are designated as forest reserves.

Jamaica’s forests are habitats for many endemic plant and animal species. Forests also provide water and air purification, soil protection, nutrient cycling, recreation and they also play a role in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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