Regional planning for forest-cover protection is important, says Principal Director, Forest Science and Technology Services Division, Forestry Department, Donna Lowe.
Speaking in a recent interview with JIS News about the country’s hosting of the 32nd meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission (LACFC), Ms. Lowe explained why such a meeting is important for both Jamaica and the region as a whole.
“We will be looking at how do we develop a programme that is robust for the region. It is important this discussion take place because the region itself contributes just under a billion hectares of forests globally. So, we are looking at pretty much 23 per cent of the world’s forests in Latin Americana and Caribbean countries. So, it is very important that we sit and plan as a region what it is that we have in mind for the forestry sector,” Ms. Lowe said.
The discussions will result in the preparation of a regional programme, which will then be submitted to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to help guide the forestry programme to be developed for the Latin American and Caribbean region. It also provides inputs to the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO) and the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF).
“It is pivotal that Jamaica is at the table in these meetings because although as a small island state we might not have the volume of forests like Peru or Brazil, for example, the 40 per cent forest cover that we have is significant. It has a pivotal role to play in a number of environmental and ecological systems services. It is intricately linked to our tourism sector and it is intricately linked to our health sector and is the first receptor for any aspect of our lives,” Ms. Lowe said.
The FAO facilitates the meetings for the LACFC as one of its statutory bodies. The 37 member countries meet biennially, and during the 32nd meeting (September 6 to 10) Jamaica was elected Chair of the Commission.
Conservator of Forests at the Forestry Department, Ainsley Henry, will serve as the Commission’s President for the next two years.