Latest News

Message by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation

Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda

International Day of Forests 2024

March 21, 2024


Forests and trees play a crucial role in sustaining and protecting us, offering clean air, water, biodiversity, and resilience against climate change. The Forestry Department, an agency under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, leads in managing Jamaica's forest resources. Their motto, "sustainably manage and conserve the forest resources of Jamaica for the benefit of present and future generations," drives successful projects with public and private partners.


Notable achievements include new Protected Areas Regulations, ongoing Land-Use/Land Cover Assessment, and progress toward the High Ambition Coalition's goal to protect 30% of land and marine areas by 2030, with Jamaica already safeguarding 25% of its landmass. The National Tree Planting Initiative, launched in 2019, has seen over 2.8 million trees planted or distributed representing 94%, nearing its 100% target by summer. The recent REDD+ capacity project has shown a significant increase in forest cover, indicating progress in conservation efforts.


The theme of "Forests and Innovation" on this International Day of Forests emphasizes leveraging modern technologies to combat climate change. Jamaica's approval for the Tree Relocator procurement reflects a commitment to environmental protection by relocating trees affected by development projects, minimizing environmental impact. Plans to plant replacement trees and expand tree cover demonstrate proactive measures to sustain ecosystems.


The Forestry Department intends to plant replacement trees and increase tree cover to approximately 3,000 across the affected areas using government-owned lands close to the roadworks.


However, global deforestation remains a pressing concern, with over 5.2 million hectares lost annually. In Jamaica, about 40% of the land is forested, yet global forest cover is only 31%, with significant annual losses. 


For many people, trees offer food, shelter, and employment. Our forests are being threatened by the removal of trees, usually for agricultural, housing, or business development. On this International Day of Forests, we must pool our efforts to ensure that our forest cover and livelihoods are not destroyed by our activities.


I call today on Individuals, communities, and government entities to promote tree planting, forest protection, and sustainable forestry practices to combat deforestation and preserve vital ecosystems for future generations.

Latest News

Forestry Department records Significant Increase in Jamaica’s Forest Cover


Ahead of the public release of groundbreaking findings on the state of Jamaica’s forests, the scientific arm of the F...

Message from the CEO & Conservator of Forests, Forestry Department for International Day of Forests


...innovation is driving progress in reforestation and afforestation efforts. With techniques like increasing native ...

Harnessing Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Forest Management in Jamaica


These tools provide invaluable insights into forest cover, land use changes, and ecosystem health reflected in the La...