Cockpit Country Forest Management Plan launched

A plan to sustainably manage the Cockpit Country Forest Reserve was launched by Honourable Robert Pickersgill, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change on Wednesday, December 11 at the Lowe River United Church in Trelawny.

The plan developed by the Forestry Department in consultation with residents and stakeholders within the Cockpit Country, outlines strategies for managing the forest resources for the next five years.

Minister Pickersgill noted that the plan was important to the protection of the Cockpit Country given the threats to the rich biodiversity within the forest reserve. “It is not only the loss of forest cover due to mining and quarrying that is cause for concern. It is also activities such as inappropriate waste disposal, invasive species, agricultural squatting, natural disasters and the poaching of our endemic species of plants and animals,” he said.


Given the threats, Minister Pickersgill said the implementation of the plan was critical to protecting the forest resources. “This comprehensive Local Forest Management Plan, speaks to all these threats, and indeed, will serve as a guide for the sustainable use and management of the rich biodiversity and ecology in the Cockpit Country forest reserve,” Minister Pickersgill said.

He urged the community to work with the Forestry Department and other government Agencies instrumental in the implementation of the plan. “While we all have a vested interested in preserving and protecting the Cockpit Country, this area is your home, so you perhaps have a greater stake than those of us who live elsewhere on the island. Therefore, it is you that we will look, to ensure that this beautiful, environmentally and culturally precious area is not destroyed or decimated in the quest for material gains,” Minister Pickersgill said.

The Forest Management Plan not only outlines plans to reforest denuded areas within the forest reserve, but also outlines plan to do further study of the biodiversity within the 26,000 hectares of forest covered under the FMP. In addition there are also plans to implement sustainable eco and heritage tourism within the area and also look at the sustainable harvesting of forest products.

The community seems to have embraced the concept as, Ms. Lorna Williams-Christie who brought greetings on behalf of the four Local Forest Management Committees within the Cockpit Country said they were pleased that the plan is being launched and believe it could help the community.

The community seems to have embraced the concept as, Ms. Lorna Williams-Christie who brought greetings on behalf of the four Local Forest Management Committees within the Cockpit Country said they were pleased that the plan is being launched and believe it could help the community.

The Forestry Department is mandated by law to develop and implement forest management plans for all the forest reserves and forest management areas under it purview. The development of this Forest Management Plan (FMP) is based on the mission of the Forestry Department, priorities established by law and policy, values of the Jamaican people, legal framework, and the National Forest Management and Conservation Plan. The Plan which was established to guide the sustainable management of the Cockpit Country Forest Ecosystem includes strategies that will, among other things, restore and maintain forest cover and watersheds in the area. It also highlights how the Forestry Department in partnership with stakeholders can work together to increase public education about the resources within the Cockpit Country that possess income earning potential such as recreational forestry and eco-tourism and mineral development.

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For more information, please contact:

Public Relations and Corporate Communication Branch
Forestry Department
173 Constant spring Road
Kingston 8
Tel: (876) 924 - 2667/8
Email: fdinfo@forestry.gov.jm