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Story Highlights

  • Work is to begin shortly to revise the Forest Act, 1996.
  • The revision will make the Forest Act more broad-based and current.
  • The policy is expected to be completed soon for submission to Cabinet, following which a series of public consultations will be held.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, has announced that work is to begin shortly to revise the Forest Act, 1996.

“The revision will make this important piece of legislation more broad-based and current. It will open the way for the Forestry Department to be even more impactful in carrying out its mandate,” he stated.

The Minister was speaking on Friday, February 21, at the launch of the Spring Dunrobin and Hillside local Forest Management Committees at the Whitehall Baptist Church, St. Thomas.

He said that the revised Act, will provide the necessary legal framework “to back up” the provisions of the new forest policy, which is being drafted.

The policy is expected to be completed soon for submission to Cabinet, following which a series of public consultations will be held to discuss the document with the various stakeholder groups.

The forest policy will outline measures to improve transparency and accountability in the management and use of Jamaica’s forest resources; expand the jurisdiction of the Forestry Department to facilitate the protection and conservation of trees, forests and mangroves on private lands; and provide incentives to preserve the natural forests.

It will also address the national priorities for forests including the country’s efforts at conservation, protection and reforestation; and the role of forests in mitigating climate change and supporting rural livelihoods.

“Our energies must be focused on preserving our forest cover and carrying out reforestation initiatives island-wide,” Minister Pickersgill stated.

“What we are aiming for is increased monitoring of our forest resources to ensure that they are protected and that all Jamaicans comply with the laws that govern their use and protection,” the Minister pointed out.