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    A group of concerned citizens from the Dolphin Head community in Hanover have come together to form a committee, which will work to protect the unique flora and fauna of the Dolphin Head Forest Reserve in the parish.
    The 14-member Dolphin Head Local Forest Management Committee, which was launched yesterday (April 1) at the Riverside Seventh-day Adventist Church, will be managed by the Forestry Department.
    Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, in his remarks at the launch, said he was happy to be part of the process of encouraging communities in efforts “which protect and preserve not only your lifestyle here but the lifestyle of the Jamaican society”.
    “What you are doing here is going to ensure that the national environment is given a boost in terms of its self preservation. I want to commend you on this great effort and let you know that the Government is committed to ensuring that this thrust … will continue in other communities across the country and will be supported by the necessary public education programme,” he stated.
    The Minister said that the committee, which was the seventh of its kind in the island, was a clear demonstration of the collective will of both the Government and the people of Jamaica to protect the environment.
    “We all need to recognise that our natural environment can be a depleting resource because as good as it is now, as nice as it seems, as comfortable as it appears and as attractive as it looks, if it is not cared for, then it will be just a matter of time before it starts to lose its appeal,” he stated, noting that “as a country, we need to do more to take the appropriate action against those who are going in the opposite direction.”
    Citing the various initiatives being carried out by Government in the promotion of good environmental practices, Minister Tufton pointed to the School Garden Programme, which aims to establish food plots in every primary and high school in Jamaica over the next two years.”This is important as it will start to orient and expose young people at the early stage to our eco-system,” Dr. Tufton pointed out.
    “It will be geared at giving them an appreciation for the need to produce and also to expose them to the capabilities of the environment to produce. It allows them to be exposed to agriculture as a potential career choice, because as a country, we are trying to move in a direction when we can get back to the days when we are not as dependent on other countries to feed us,” he added.
    President of the Dolphin Head Local Forest Management Committee, Daniel Christie, expressed appreciation to all groups and organisations for the part they have played in making the launch possible and pledged to ensure the sustainability of the group.
    “We want to pledge our efforts and hardwork towards this committee and assure you all that we will see to the effectiveness of this committee so that the Dolphin Head Forest Reserve is preserved for a better quality of life for all citizens,” Mr. Christie pointed out.
    The Dolphin Head Forest Reserve is an area of high botanical diversity, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and recreational value and boasts an astonishing 32.5 per cent rate of plant endemism, making it one of the most valuable terrestrial habitats in the Caribbean.

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