The Forestry Department is undertaking an assessment of 7,000 hectares of mangrove forest across Jamaica as the agency prepares to develop a management plan for this resource by 2021.
The assessment and plan are also deliverables of the forest sector plan called the National Forest Management and Conservation Plan.
“The goal is to assess 7,000 hectares of mangroves over the next three years. At the end of April, we assessed over 2,500 hectares, so we’re on track to meet the target. We find patches of healthy mangroves that we never knew existed and we see firsthand how our mangroves help keep our beaches clean and provide habitat for a number of marine life, ”said Brahim Diop, Senior Officer of research and chief research officer at the department.
Diop says work began in January on the northwest section of the island which covers the parishes of Trelawny, St James and Hanover as well as the southeast section covering Clarendon, St Catherine, St Thomas, Kingston and St Andrew .
Since most of the swamp forests are in close proximity to the mangrove forests, the department said it would also take the opportunity to assess the remaining swamp forests.
Between 1998 and 2013, Jamaica lost a total of 2,123 hectares of mangrove and swamp forest.
Mangroves and swamp forests provide several economic benefits to communities, which in many cases are mined at an unsustainable rate for construction, for use as yam sticks, small-scale agriculture, charcoal production. wood and artisanal fish traps.
In addition, the mangroves are threatened by authorized coastal development projects, including housing solutions as well as hotels and tourist attractions.