Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
HALSE HALL, Clarendon:
In keeping with the recommend-ation of its parent company Alcoa, local bauxite company Jamalco, through its lands and mining operations department, is working to establish a biodiversity village in a reclaimed pit at Harmons Valley in southern Manchester by year end.
Located on 10 acres, the village will have among other things, a walking trail, fish pond, bird sanctuary, botanical gardens and a gazebo where persons can relax, according to agricultural officer Daniel Miller, who is spearheading Jamalco's biodiversity action plan (BAP).
The village which will be managed by Jamalco and the community will facilitate school tours and community use of this green space, with the overall aim of raising public awareness.
Miller told AgroGleaner: "The aim of this village is to sensitise people to this very important part of our lives … that of biodiversity, so they can be aware that we have to pay attention to the environment and that Jamalco is also very keen on this aspect of it."
VARIETY OF LIFE
Biological diversity, he explained, refers to the variety of life in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem and is important because our daily existence depends on it. It is the diversity of plants and animals in our environment that helps to support life. For example, micro-organisms speed up decomposition of dead plants and animals to aid in soil fertility, and many medications are also developed from plants and animals.
The agricultural officer explained that Alcoa has been working to have several of its locations worldwide establish BAP as governments, companies, and non-government organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the need to protect these natural resources.
"Jamalco wants to be a part of this," he said, "especially in the mining communities, because we recognise that mining has dislocated a lot of our biodiversity; and so have decided to embark on conservation and protection plan."
To this end, the company is doing an assessment of all the plants in the area proposed for the village, with the aim of preserving any endangered or otherwise threatened species, and is working with the National Environmental Protection Agency, Rural Agricultural Development Authority and other agencies to ensure that it causes minimum dislocation in the rehabilitation process.