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 Department 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 Crown Lands. About 40 per cent of Jamaica is forested, a third – which is approximately 116,862 hectares of the forested lands- are on Crown Lands.
The Agency has its beginnings in 1937 with the passing of the Forest Act which created the Forest Branch of the Lands Department. Throughout the years many more changes would occur including its move to Ministry of Agriculture in 1938 and then to the Ministry of Environment in 2011.
In 2004, the decision was taken by the Cabinet Office to transform the Department into an Executive Agency. In 2010 the Forestry Department was officially designated an Executive Agency. As an executive agency, the Forestry Department is being completely enhanced in its staffing, infrastructure, tools and methodologies. This is enabling the Agency to meet the service needs of the forestry sector, as a result of its greater organisational capacity, capability and accountability.
The administrative structure of the Agency supports a determined drive towards greater efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and accountability. There are four (4) divisions: Forest Operations, Legal and Enforcement, Corporate Services and Forest Science and Technology Services.
The structure of the Agency’s Forest Operations Division consists of two (2) zones; the Western Zone and Eastern Zone. Each zone is further divided into two (2) regions. The office of the Eastern Zone is housed at the Agency’s Head Office, located in Kingston. The parishes served by the Eastern zone are Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, St. Thomas, St. Mary, Portland and Clarendon. This Zone is further broken down into the North East and South East regions.
The Western Zone has its office in Moneague and encompasses the parishes of St. Ann, Hanover, St. James, St. Elizabeth, Manchester, Westmoreland and Trelawny. The Western Zone is further broken down into the North West and South West Region to allow for greater efficiency in the execution of duties.