Who We Are

About the Forestry Department

If on hearing the word 'forestry', you immediately thought, 'trees' or 'greenery', you would have correctly guessed the core function of Jamaica's Forestry Department. The Agency is the government organization responsible for the management and conservation of the country's forest resources. The functions of the Agency are mandated under the Forest Act, 1996 and are aimed at managing forests on a sustainable basis to maintain and increase the environmental services and economic benefits they provide.


Who we are

The Forestry Department is the Executive Agency charged with managing and conserving Jamaica's forest resources, particularly those found on public lands.  About 40 per cent of Jamaica is forested, 26 percent - which is approximately 116,862 hectares of the forested lands- are on Crown Lands.

In 1937, the passage of the first Forest Act created a Forest Branch within the (then) Lands Department. Changes throughout the years have included administration under the Ministry of Agriculture (1938), the Ministry of the Environment (2011), the Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment & Climate Change (2020) and currently the Ministry of Economic Growth & Job Creation (2022).  The Agency was officially designated as an Executive Agency in 2010, to enable greater organizational capacity, capability, effectiveness, productivity and accountability.

There are six (6) divisions which report directly to the CEO& Conservator of Forests:

The Divisions are:

  • Forest Operations
  • Legal and Forest Enforcement Services
  • Corporate Services
  • Forest Science and Technology Services
  • Corporate Communications & Marketing
  • Information and Communication Technology

The structure of the Agency's Forest Operations Division consists of two (2) zones:

    • North West
      • Hanover
      • St. James
      • Part of Trelawny
      • St. Ann

    • South West
      • Westmoreland
      • St. Elizabeth
      • Manchester
      • Part of Trelawny
    • North East
      • St. Mary
      • Portland

    • South East
      • Kingston
      • St. Andrew
      • St. Thomas 
      • St. Catherine
      • Clarendon


  Functions of the Agency:

The Forestry Department is established and mandated by the Forest Act 1996 to:

  • Support the sustainable management of forests on Crown lands in forest reserves and estates; and the effective conservation of the said forests;
  • Direct and control the sustainable utilization of forest resources by the introduction of adequate systems for renewal of those resources;
  • Implement the National Forest Management and Conservation Plan;
  • Promote the development of forests on private lands.
  • Promote, establish and maintain a forest research programme with a view to:
    • Enhancing forest management and development;
    • Identifying and obtaining silvicultural data to be used in improving financial yields of species important to the national economy;
  • Ensuring reforestation of suitable lands;
  • Establishing and promoting public education programmes to improve understanding of the contribution of forests to national well-being and national development;
  • Establishing and maintaining recreational facilities in such forest estates as may be designated for that purpose;
  • Promoting agroforestry and social forestry programmes for the benefit of farmers, schools and any other interested persons, or groups of persons;
  • Determining, with the approval of the Minister, fees for licences or permits granted under the Act or any other services rendered by the Agency;
  • Preparation of forest inventories and the demarcation and maintenance of forest boundaries;
  • Control and supervise the cutting, harvesting, milling and sale of timber and other forest produce;
  • Granting of licences and permits under this Act;
  • Compiling information and statistics concerning the use of timber and other forest produce;
  • Taking steps to enforce compliance with the provisions of the Act.