Forestry Department to increase monitoring of forest reserves
Kingston, Jamaica, February 24, 2014:
The government is moving to step up its monitoring of forest reserves through initiatives to be introduced later this year.
Speaking at the recent launch of the Spring Dunrobin and Hillside Local Forest Management Committees (LFMCs), Honourable Robert Pickersgill, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change announced that the revised Forest Policy was ready to go before Cabinet and that the government was moving to revise the Forest Act shortly. “We recognize that a far reaching policy without the necessary legal framework to back up the provisions of the Policy is counterproductive. As such, work is to begin shortly, to revise the Forest Act, 1996. The revision will make this important piece of legislation more broad-based and current. It will open the way for the Forestry Department to be even more impactful in carrying out its mandate,” he said.
Minister Pickersgill also told the gathering at the White Hall Baptist Church in St. Thomas that sawmills and persons who operate power saw are also to be regulated in a bid to provide greater oversight of the lumber and furniture sector. “We cannot have persons cutting down trees willy-nilly, and this initiative, it is believed, will ultimately result in the better conservation and preservation of our forested areas,” he said.
The official launch of these two LFMCs has brought the total number established by the Forestry Department to 15. Minister Pickersgill commended the residents for getting involved in forest management. “I am heartened at the turnout as well as the enthusiasm I see on your faces. Being a member of the Local Forest Management Committee is an empowering exercise. Today’s launch means you have become stakeholders in the process of preserving the island’s protected forest areas,” he said.
He noted that this new membership created new opportunities for the community to seek funding to implement sustainable environmental programmes and also to explore new income generating activities such as beekeeping, agroforestry, craft production, furniture production and plant nurseries.
The establishment of Local Forest Management Committees (LFMCs) is one of the Forestry Department’s key strategies to effectively and sustainably manage the country’s forest resources. The formation of Local Forest Management Committees (LFMCs) is provided for by the Forest Act, 1996 and is an integral component of the community participation strategy of the Agency.
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