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  • The programmes under Ja REEACH have been given a $30 million boost this fiscal year.
  • The project seeks to enhance the biodiversity conservation of the Stephney-John’s Vale Forest Reserve, through the planting and establishment of 200 hectares of forested lands.
  • The project is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The programmes under the Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REEACH) have been given a $30 million boost this fiscal year.

The project seeks to enhance the biodiversity conservation of the Stephney-John’s Vale Forest Reserve, through the planting and establishment of 200 hectares of forested lands within the Rio Bueno Watershed Management Unit (WMU).

As contained in the 2014/15 Estimates of Expenditure now before the House of Representatives, it also seeks to generate income for the local communities through livelihood and agro-forestry programmes; and to develop two Forest Management plans in the South Eastern section of the Blue Mountain Forest Reserve.

Anticipated targets include: reforesting the 200 hectares in selected WMU; continue visibility activities; training 50 farmers in agro-forestry; distribution of 3,000 timber seedlings; conducting two community workshops to promote sustainable livelihood/economic activities; and continuing stakeholder consultations for Forest Management Plan.

Some of the targets achieved up to February 2014 are: training of 150 farmers in agro-forestry; identification of 3,000 timber seedlings for distribution; distribution of 3,000 fruit tree seedlings (coconut, apple and June plum); the development of four demonstration plots in the local forestry management committee; clearing of 50 hectares in selected WMU for reforestation; completion of biophysical inventory and socio-economic assessments; and 140,000 production of seedlings.

The project, which falls under the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and is scheduled for completion in June 2014.