JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica’s ability to withstand the effects of future natural disasters depends greatly on increased efforts.
  • Forest preservation is necessary to safeguard Jamaica against the impact of weather-related activities.
  • Climate departure is a scientific term referring to significant changes in average temperature levels.

Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says Jamaica’s ability to withstand the effects of future natural disasters depends greatly on increased efforts nationwide to preserve the environment.

Speaking at the Forestry Department’s inaugural Forest Heroes Awards presentations at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on Thursday (October 17), Mr. Pickersgill stressed the need for citizens to become dedicated “stewards” of environmental preservation by, among other things, planting more trees.

He noted that forest preservation is necessary to safeguard Jamaica against the impact of weather-related activities such as hurricanes, the overall effects of climate change, and land slippages, among other occurrences.

“The loss of forest cover, not just here in Jamaica, but worldwide, presents a ‘clear and present danger’ to our survival,” he said. “Our forests are (also) directly related to our livelihoods as they provide medicines, wood, water, and almost every natural (provision) around us.”

In this regard, Mr. Pickersgill urged that the nation act with urgency to implement measures that will preserve the island’s forests, adding that “one of the best ways is to plant more trees”.

The Minister pointed to scientific predictions warning of the possible ‘climate departure’ being experienced by several cities globally, including Kingston, by 2023. This, unless action is taken to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Climate departure is a scientific term referring to significant changes in average temperature levels, either in a specific location or globally, consequent on the severity of climate change-related occurrences.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pickersgill commended the Forestry Department for its work over the past 75 years in promoting awareness, across the society, of the importance and relevance of forests to the nation.

“(I also) commend your efforts to ensure that members of the public are empowered to see themselves as stakeholders, and are tangibly involved in preserving our forests,” he stated.

Four categories of awards were presented to two persons and two organizations by the Department, in recognition of their contributions to environmental protection.

Retired quantity surveyor, Dalkeith Hanna, received the Private Forestry Award, while journalist, Petre Williams Raynor, was recognised in the Media and Communication category.

The Community Forestry Award was presented to the Dolphin Head Local Forest Management Committee in Hanover, while the Lion’s Club of Mona, St. Andrew, walked away with the Non-profit Organization Award.

The Forest Heroes Awards were organized by the Forest Department as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations this year, being held under the theme: ‘Protecting our forests, Sustaining Lives…70 years and Beyond’.

Chief Executive Officer and Conservator Forests, Forestry Department, Marilyn Headley, said the awards are agency’s gesture to acknowledge persons and groups whose work has contributed positively to forestry and general environmental preservation.

She remarked that the awards aim to honour the recipients and provide them with heightened visibility that will enable them to promote and, where possible, expand their reach. This, she added, by sharing their knowledge and experience with other persons and organizations committed to carrying on the mantel of forest preservation stewardship.

An agency of theMinistry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change,the Forestry Department is responsible for the management and conservation of the country’s forest resources.