JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, is calling on more Jamaicans to preserve the rich biodiversity that exists, given the impact Climate Change is having on natural resources.
  • Jamaica’s terrestrial biodiversity is characterised by over 3,304 vascular plant species; approximately 600 species of ferns; 136 species of butterflies and 106 known bird species that are only found on the island, which are all under threat due to human activities and climate change.
  • Chief Plant Quarantine Officer from the Plant Quarantine and Produce Inspection Branch of the Ministry, Sanniel Wilson Graham, reiterated calls for the protection of these species at a Botanical and Horticultural Seminar hosted by the Ministry, on January 31, at Hope Gardens, in St. Andrew.

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, is calling on more Jamaicans to preserve the rich biodiversity that exists, given the impact Climate Change is having on natural resources.

Jamaica’s terrestrial biodiversity is characterised by over 3,304 vascular plant species; approximately 600 species of ferns; 136 species of butterflies and 106 known bird species that are only found on the island, which are all under threat due to human activities and climate change.

Chief Plant Quarantine Officer from the Plant Quarantine and Produce Inspection Branch of the Ministry, Sanniel Wilson Graham, reiterated calls for the protection of these species at a Botanical and Horticultural Seminar hosted by the Ministry, on January 31, at Hope Gardens, in St. Andrew.

“It is now that we have to act to protect our biodiversity, because if you are supposed to live another 20 to 30 years, what you do today will be important then,” Mrs. Wilson Graham said.

“Plants are very important to our survival, because they make up 80 per cent of what we eat. Even if you really don’t like vegetables, but you like meat, then the animals you eat also eat plants.

Ninety eight per cent of the oxygen that we breathe comes from plants, so as we celebrate this beauty that God has blessed us with, we’re also aware of the need to protect biodiversity from environmental challenges that we face,” she added.

Mrs. Wilson Graham pointed out that Climate Change is not only having a negative impact on plants, but also animals, which depend heavily on humans to feed them at times with food and water, especially during times of drought.

“The National Water Commission has advised the country that some parts of Kingston are already on drought-watch, and certainly we will have restrictions on our water. Not only are we having more severe hurricanes and droughts, but from the Plant Quarantine and certainly from the Ministry, we have been having the outbreak of more and more pests and diseases,” she noted.

“It therefore means that Climate Change is really having an impact on not just plant health, but also animal health, and the quality of food that we now get is actually at a lower quality,” Mrs. Wilson Graham said.

She also pointed out that animals are suffering from heat stress as a result of climate change.

The seminar was held under the theme: ‘Threats to Biodiversity: Protecting Plants, Protecting Life’.

The main objectives of the seminar were to: identify, describe and discuss biodiversity; discuss and reflect on the strategies developed and used to protect biodiversity; and collaborate with horticultural companies to promote and showcase the variety of products used in gardening.

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