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The Forestry Department is expected to plant an additional 160 hectares of denuded land and to have 2,600 hectares of land gazetted as forest reserves, this financial year, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, has informed.

"It is expected that 640 persons will be employed under this programme," the Minister said, as he made his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on July 24.

During this financial year, through funding from the European Union (EU) Climate Change Adaptation Disaster Risk Reduction Project, the Forestry Department will also undertake several activities, chiefly “the determination of the percentage change in Jamaica’s forest cover."

“The new deforestation figures will give us a clear indication of the direction of the agency’s replanting efforts,” the Minister noted. 

Also under the project, the agency’s nurseries will be rehabilitated and a forest fire management plan is to be produced, which aims to reduce health risks and also associated carbon dioxide emissions.

“As we continue to involve the community, we will be establishing five additional Local Forest Management Committees,” Mr. Pickersgill added.