Think­ing long term to pro­tect forests

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

“WE WANT to help the com­mu­nity find al­ter­na­tives,” re­marked Tous­saint Brown, a mem­ber of the Sawyers Lo­cal For­est Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee Benev­o­lent So­ci­ety.

He was speak­ing at the grantsign­ing cer­e­mony for 13 com­mu­nity-based or­gan­i­sa­tions un­der the En­vi­ron­men­tal Foun­da­tion of Ja­maica’s (EFJ) For­est Con­ser­va­tion Fund.

The grants, signed on July 3 and to­tal­ing J$86 mil­lion, were pro­vided through the For­est Con­ser­va­tion Fund.

“Via a com­pet­i­tive grant ap­pli­ca­tion process, we pro­vide ded­i­cated fund­ing to pro­mote sus­tain­able use of our for­est re­sources, and work to ad­dress the cause and ef­fect of threats to our for­est re­sources,” said Al­li­son Ran­golan, chief tech­ni­cal direc­tor of the EFJ, which ad­min­is­ters the fund.

The ob­jec­tive is to sup­port the efforts of non-gov­ern­men­tal and com­mu­nity-based or­gan­i­sa­tions to pro­tect, con­serve and man­age lo­cal forests, while build­ing their or­gan­i­sa­tional ca­pac­ity.

For Brown, the con­stant nib­bling away at the edges of the for­est in his district is com­bin­ing with other fac­tors to de­grade the en­vi­ron­ment.

“It is af­fect­ing us,” he said. “We can­not pre­dict the rain­fall.”

The al­ter­na­tives his group is work­ing on are bee­keep­ing and small-scale agro-forestry. They are also com­mit­ted to re­plant­ing acres of de­nuded wood­land and plan to hold public ed­u­ca­tion ses­sions at 12 lo­cal schools on the im­por­tance of forests.


En­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness pro­grammes such as Na­tional Tree Plant­ing Day, cel­e­brated last week, are grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity. The day saw ac­tiv­i­ties in­volv­ing school­child­ren and youth high on the agenda as the Forestry De­part­ment shared in­for­ma­tion about plant­ing and car­ing for trees and made hun­dreds of saplings avail­able for plant­ing.

Equally im­por­tant, how­ever, are the day-to-day prac­tices of ru­ral res­i­dents – and not just on one par­tic­u­lar day.

While EFJ grants pro­vide valu­able sup­port to com­mu­ni­ties seek­ing so­lu­tions, main­tain­ing the fo­cus is crit­i­cal for their suc­cess and for the sus­tain­able devel­op­ment of com­mu­ni­ties. Plan­ning, im­ple­ment­ing and com­plet­ing a pro­ject are not the be­gin­ning and the end of the story. The EFJ’s sup­port is in­tended to have a grow­ing – and last­ing – im­pact.


Petro­jam’s public re­la­tions of­fi­cer, La­toya Pen­nant, and act­ing prin­ci­pal of St An­drew Pri­mary School, Omar Thomas, plant a tree as part of Na­tional Tree Plant­ing Day cel­e­bra­tions at the ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion re­cently.

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