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Story Highlights

  • Conservator of forests, Marilyn Headley, is promoting the development of forests on private lands.
  • Miss Headley, who is also Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Department, is appealing to Jamaicans with private lands to declare them as forest cover and reap the benefits.
  • She pointed out that the Forestry Department has a very active private forestry programme, and is encouraging private land owners to put in forest, to maintain their forest, or rehabilitate their forest cover.

Conservator of forests, Marilyn Headley, is promoting the development of forests on private lands.

Miss Headley, who is also Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Department, is appealing to Jamaicans with private lands to declare them  as forest cover and reap the benefits.

“The first benefit is that land already in forest can be declared as forest reserve or forest management area and you’ll be entitled to remission and property tax,” she told a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on July 22.

She pointed out that the Forestry Department has a very active private forestry programme, and is encouraging private land owners to put in forest, to maintain their forest, or rehabilitate their forest cover.

Miss Headley informed that the Department has a private planting programme, through which it targets small farmers, large estate farms, absentee land owners whose lands are not presently in productive use, bauxite companies with land for restoration, as well as public land holding entities.

The CEO explained that there is a benefit to having forest cover, especially on very steep hillsides, as this assists with the supply of water.

“When rain falls, it does not run off the hillside, instead it falls through the trees and penetrate into the soil and that water goes underground and then come up in our springs and rivers.  So, when you don’t have tree cover, rain falls and all your water runs into the sea with the soil,” she noted.

Miss Headley informed that approximately 110,000 hectares of land in Jamaica is managed by the Forestry Department.

She is encouraging all Jamaicans who cut down trees,  to replant the affected areas, so that future generations can benefit.

The Forestry Department is primarily responsible for the management, conservation and preservation of all forested areas owned by the State.