The Forestry Department has partnered with the University of the West Indies’ Centre for Marine Sciences to rehabilitate two (2) hectares of mangroves in the Palisadoes -Port Royal Protected area.
This project is a component of the “Building climate resilience of urban systems through Ecosystem-based Adaptation” in Latin America and the Caribbean project, more commonly called CityAdapt project, which is being funded by the United Nations Environment Programme Global Environment Facility (UNEP/GEF) at a cost of approximately JM $24 million.
Principal Director, Forest Science & Technology Services Division, Miss Donna Lowe, says the rehabilitation project will firstly address hydrology issues in the area which have resulted from solid waste buildup in the area.
“When the natural tidal exchange in mangroves is affected, the health and mortality of the mangroves as well as the animals in the area are at risk so the UWI Centre for Marine sciences will be conducting a study which will involve site reconnaissance to identify the current and potential drainage channels, removing blockages in selected areas along north shores, installing localized screening around drainage channels to prevent solid waste build-up, as well as the widening of water channels where necessary,” Ms. Lowe said.
Five water level loggers have been installed to date which will help to determine the water flow to and from the sea. They will also determine pre-restoration hydrology in the degraded area.
“Once hydrology is restored in the area, the project will move on the planting of natural mangrove recruits, seeds and/or seedlings, where available as well as nursery-grown seedlings to facilitate faster regeneration,” Ms. Lowe shared.
The project will also see the engagement of community members from Port Royal/Kingston Harbour environs that will assist with the cleaning of the mangroves. However, prior to the engagement, individuals will be participating in a focus group to determine their knowledge and attitudes towards mangroves.
The CityAdapt project is aimed at restoring urban and peri-urban ecosystems in Kingston and St. Andrew with the goal of reducing the vulnerability of urban communities to the effects of climate change as well as improving adaptive capacities.