Jamaica’s Forests Are Growing Back
Positive growth in afforestation
By Dana Niland
Jamaica has recorded an afforestation rate of .41 percent, marking the first positive growth in forestation since it was first measured in 1998, according to Donna Lowe, Senior Director of Forest Signs and Technical Services at the Forestry Department (above).
Lowe said she welcomed this news, particularly in light of the past struggles of extended dry periods and wild fires.
“It’s good to have an afforestation or a gain in forest cover,” said Lowe. “What this means is that areas that were once forested are now coming back into forests. Additionally, areas that were non forest areas, such as abandoned agricultural lands, are now reverting to secondary forests.”
Lowe said Jamaica had experienced a decline in all major forest categories except secondary forests, and that the Forestry Department will be implementing stricter rules and enforcement strategies to prevent the destruction of primary forest cover through illegal logging, fires, squatting, or other entrepreneurial threats.
“We are encouraging Jamaicans to leave the forests alone,” she said. “Look at alternative measures and practices that you can use to conserve our forest cover.”