Lobby welcomes Parliament's approval of 12 forest reserves
The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has welcomed the declaration of 12 areas across Jamaica as forest reserves, bringing to 101,366 hectares the total with that designation.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved orders to give effect to the declaration.
"That's good news that we have more forest reserves declared, but remember, that does not mean they're off limits to anything. It just means that you need a permit to it," said Diana McCaulay, JET chief executive officer, pointing to previously proposed industrial development for the Goat Islands, which contains forest reserves.
The new forest reserves will fall under the management of the Forestry Department, regulated by the Forest Act 1996.
Daryl Vaz, minister without portfolio in the Economic Growth and Job Creation Ministry, who introduced the resolutions to the House, noted that the draft forest policy for Jamaica 2015 proposed the use of reserves to include conservation of natural forests and biodiversity, highly regulated eco-tourism and recreational activities, and scientific research, including sustainable management of forest resources.
"Protecting these areas will help to reduce pressures on our forest biological diversity, promote sustainable use, and support livelihoods," he said.
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New Forest Reserves
1. The Hazelymph Forest Reserve, Hanover
2. The Muirhead Forest Reserve, Hanover
3. The Cacoon Castle Forest Reserve, Hanover
4. The Newfound River Forest Reserve, Hanover
5. The Bowden Pen Forest Reserve, Hanover.
6. The Burnt Ground Forest Reserve, Hanover
7. The Tryall Forest Reserve, Hanover (Tryall Reserve is on a private property)
8. The Horseguard Forest Reserve, St James
9. The Blue Mountain 2 Forest Reserve, St Thomas
10. The Bogue 2 Forest Reserve, St Ann
11. The Amity Mountain Forest Reserve, Westmoreland
12. The Oxford Forest Reserve, Manchester