What We Do


Private Forestry Programme (PFP)

The potential of private landowners to contribute to national reforestation is recognised in the Forest Act, 1996 which mandates the Forestry Department to "promote the development of forests on private lands". The relevance of this mandate is supported by a land use assessment carried out by the Agency which showed that of the 69,000 hectares identified with reforestation potential, some 67,000 hectares are privately owned. This clearly underscores the need to involve private land-owners in reforestation.

In 1998 the Forestry Department formalized the private planting programme, which brought together its tree seedling distribution activities, particularly as they pertained to farmers and other landowners, into a structured programme.

Private Planting technical transfer training in progress

Programme's Success

The growth of the PFP has been gaining momentum since its rejuvenation in 1998. Existing private planters and new recruits to the programme have displayed great interest and enthusiasm in maintaining existing plantations and establishing new ones. Up to the end of 2004, over 650 persons have been registered in the programme, with over 370,000 tree seedlings distributed, representing the equivalent of 570 hectares of plantation establishment.


Programme Goal

The aim of the Private Forestry Programme is to encourage private landowners and other entities to plant trees on parcels of land not currently under productive use for commercial wood production and for soil conservation.


Who is it for?

The range of individuals/entities who are eligible to participate in the Private Planting Programme include:

  • Smallholder farmers
  • Large estate farms
  • Absentee land- owners whose lands are not presently in productive use
  • Bauxite companies with land for restoration public land holding entities
  • Farmers with small to medium-size holdings have been the main beneficiaries of the programme to date, however, an ever increasing number of large estate owners are planting portions of their lands with timber trees for commercial production. The Forestry Department also actively recruits landowners whose lands may not be under productive use at present and whose main income is not derived from their lands.

What is offered?

Free timber tree seedlings and technical advice are provided by the Forestry Department to participants in the Private Forestry Programme (PFP). The type of technical advice given includes topics such as:

  • Species selection
  • Site preparation
  • Tree/plantation maintenance
  • Thinning and pruning
  • Growth and yield determination
  • Participants are responsible for all costs relating to tree establishment and maintenance as well as transportation of tree seedlings to their planting site from the Forestry Department nursery.

The timber tree species available include:

  • Honduras mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla )
  • Jamaica mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni )
  • Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea )
  • Blue mahoe (Hibiscus elatus )
  • Spanish elm (Cordia geracanthus)
  • Bitter damsel (Simarouba glauca)
  • West Indian cedar (Cedrela odorata )
  • Santa maria (Calophyllum calaba)
  • Teak (Tectona grandis)

How does it work?

To apply to the Private Planting Programme, simply download (click here) and complete the form and forward it to any of our offices. You may also collect forms from any of our offices across the island.

Once the application has been received and reviewed, a Forestry Department officer will make arrangements with the applicant to visit the proposed planting site. Decisions are then taken regarding:

  • Suitability of the land for timber tree production
  • Selection of appropriate tree species
  • Quantity of seedlings required
  • Schedule for provision of seedlings

Tree seedlings will be made available as scheduled and the Agency personnel will assist the landowner to monitor the growth of the planted seedlings. Measurement of the young trees, eg, for height, girth, etc. may be done intermittently for research purposes.

If there is a big demand for certain tree seedlings, the Agency may have to reschedule availability times. Participants will be advised at the earliest.

What is Land Declaration?

The Forest Act of 1996 allows private landowners to apply for their forested lands to be declared as either a forest reserve or a forest management area.

Benefits of the Programme

  • Your property will contribute to the preservation of Jamaica's environment
  • Remission of your property taxes
  • Prosecution of offenders under the Forest Act

Steps to Take

Make a written application to the CEO and Conservator of Forests stating your interest in declaring your area under the Forest Act. Be sure to provide us with:

  • The exact location of your land (parish, district, volume and folio number of the title etc.
  • The size of land proposed for declaration, and the percentage of the property this represents, e.g. 50%
  • The time period over which the declaration status would apply, e.g. 10 years, 20 years, forever
  • Proof of ownership of the land, e.g. the title a recent survey of the land (not more than 7 years old)

What Happens Next

  • The Forestry Department schedules a site visit and based on this visit prepares a technical report for the CEO & Conservator.
  • The application for the declaration order is submitted and the CEO & Conservator makes a recommendation to the Minister who decides to accept or reject the application.
  • If accepted, the Minister will do either of the following:
  • Declare the land a Forest Management Area. Once the order has been signed and
  • The legal obligations fulfilled, the information will be published in the Gazette.


Subject to affirmative resolution, declare the private land a Forest Reserve after:

  • A notice of the intent to declare the land is published in the Gazette or such other medium as the Minister sees fit at least 90 days before making the order.
  • At least 90 days notice of the proposed declaration given by the Minister, e.g. by Gazette or newspaper.

What is a Local Forest Management Committee

The Local Forest Management Committee (LFMC) is the institutional body created in watersheds management units to enable the participation of the communities in the co-management of forested areas (specifically those managed by the Forestry Department.

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.

The Forestry Department hosting a community meeting in a forest-depepndent community in order to raise awareness

 Participation in LFMCs

Membership on the LFMCs is open to all community groups, organisations, NGOs, private sector entities and Government agencies present in the particular forest area and whose members are willing to participate. Each stakeholder entity will be asked to select a representative and an alternate to serve on the Committee. Membership in the LFMC will be ratified by the Minister with responsibility for Environment on the recommendation of the Conservator of Forests. There is no limit to the number of entities that can be represented on the Committee.

 Functions of LFMCs

The purpose of LFMCs is to: 

  • Monitor the condition of natural resources in the Committee's area;
  • Hold discussions, public meetings and the like about the state of the natural resources;
  • Advise the Conservator on matters relating to the development of the Forest Management Plan (FMP) and the making of regulations;
  • Propose incentives for conservation practices in the Committee's area;
  • Assist in the design and execution of conservation projects in the area; and
  • Any other functions as may be provided for by or under the Forest Act.

The Committee itself may identify functions which they need to undertake.

The operations of the LFMC will benefit overall watershed protection and management. The role of the Committee may be expanded in the future to take in watershed responsibility as a result of changes in the structure of national watershed administration and management.

Sustainable Alternative Livelihoods

To make local forest management more attractive to communities, the strategy has been to develop new initiatives and technical approaches of both the Forestry Department and NGOs which provides income earning opportunities for local communities. Some of the activities falling within this category are:

  • Ecotourism and nature tourism;
  • Recreational park conservation;
  • Agroforestry;
  • Craft production;
  • Furniture production;
  • Plant nurseries, including exotic species;
  • Medicinal plant production;
  • Bamboo for low-cost housing and crafts;
  • Bee-keeping;
  • Portable sawmilling operations;
  • Fuelwood and charcoal production; and
  • Yam stick production.

Where suitable sites on forest reserve lands have been identified in Local Forest Management Plans, individuals and groups will be approached to lease parcels for use in accordance with the conditions prescribed in the Forest Act and in any subsequent Forest Regulations. In certain situations, and where feasible, co-management arrangements or memoranda of understanding will replace standard lease agreements.

 How to establish an LFMC

Any community interested in forming an LFMC needs to write to CEO& Conservator of Forests indicating your interests. From there the Agency will contact you and begin the process.

To date, 18 LFMCs have been established across the island. They are:

  1. Buff Bay/ Pencar LFMC
  2. Spring Bank LFMC
  3. Northern Rio Minho LFMC
  4. Cockpit Country (3 LFMCs):
    1. North Cockpit Country 
    2. South Cockpit Country
    3. South East Cockpit Country
  5. Dolphin Head LFMC
  6. Constitution Hill LFMC
  7. Dallas Castle LFMC
  8. Smithfield LFMC
  9. Westphalia LFMC
  10. Sawyer LFMC 
  11. Spring Dunrobin LFMC
  12. Hillside LFMC
  13. Hessen Castle LFMC
  14. Stephney LFMC
  15. Grants Mountain LFMC