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7 facts about the Healthshire Hills Forest Reserve


  1. This forest reserve is commonly known as ‘Hellshire Hills' but was gazetted on January 12, 1950 under the name, Healthshire Hills as listed in the Jamaican Gazette.
  2. The Healthshire Forest Reserve is located in the south eastern region of Jamaica in the parish of St. Catherine.
  3. The forest reserve comprises of 8581.04 hectares of tall open dry forests. Tall open dry forest is a classification used to refer to areas of forests that are open natural woodlands or forests with trees at least five (5) metres tall and crowns are not in contact. In Jamaica, there is 37,559.70 hectares of tall open dry forests.
  4. The area is popularly known to be home to a rich and biologically diverse community of flora and fauna. At least six (6) species of animals found only in Jamaica were documented in this area. These animals include the following:

    • The Jamaican Iguana (cylcura collei)
    • The Blue-tailed Galliwasp (celestes duquesneyi)
    • Three (3) species of The Thunder Snake (genus trophidophis)
    • The Jamaica ‘fish-eating' Bat (noctilo leporinus)

  5. Other rare and endangered Jamaican species that can be found in the area include the Jamaican Coney and the Jamaican Boa. Wild hogs, several bird species and North American migrant birds also live in this unique habitat.
  6. According to a 1970 survey led by the University of the West Indies, the area is also home to two hundred & seventy one (271) species of plants – 53 of which are only found in Jamaica. The dominant plant species of the area include:

    • Guiana Plum (drypetes lateriflora)
    • Black Poisonwood (metopium brownei)
    • Pom Pom Orchid Tree (bauhinia divaricata)
    • Black Ironwood/Leadwood (krugiodendron ferreum) 

  7. The Healthshire Hill Forest Reserve is recognised as the last significant area of primary, undistributed, dry limestone forest in the Caribbean and Central America.
  8. The reserve is a part of the Portland Bight Protected Area.

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