Jamaica has 114 forest reserves, and this series will be bringing you closer to some of these important and amazing locations.
- The Dolphin Head mountain range is recorded to have a higher density of local endemic plant species and rare or threatened plants per unit area than anywhere else in Jamaica. The Dolphin Head forest management plan area has up to 606 plant species, of which 36 species are non-indigenous and more or less naturalized, 171 species are endemic to Jamaica and 25 species are restricted to Dolphin Head area (Proctor 2002). There are over 50 endemic faunal species including four species endemic to Dolphin Head. (Source: Dolphin Head Forest Management Plan, 2013).
- Historically, the Dolphin Head Forest Reserve was part of lands owned by slave masters and the slaves were used to cut the roads through the mountains and to rear cattle and other livestock on the land. However commencing in 1950, the Government started to declare various parcels of land as forest reserves to ensure the conservation of the forest resources in these areas, including forest estates that make up the Dolphin Head forest reserve.
- The Dolphin Head Area is considered to potentially be an excellent eco-tourism site, given that it is easily accessible from Major tourist towns. It is approximately 48km from the tourist areas of Montego Bay and Negril. The Dolphin Head Trust (now defunct) had sought to establish the Dolphin Head Hiking Trail and Live Botanical Museum as a World Class tour which would be economically viable and a successful example of community-driven Nature-Based Tourism with conservation, livelihood, and educational value. In 2006, they launched the â€œBliss bambooâ€ product line with furnishings made from Bamboo but production has since been discontinued.
- In April 2009 the Forestry Department launched the Dolphin Head Local Forest Management Committee (LFMC) which effectively became the community group that works with the Agency to establish and develop conservation-based activities to support sustainable forest management. Since the group's establishment, it has secured grant funding to reforest sixteen hectares of denuded and degraded forest lands and also established an apiary in the area, which serves as a thriving honey business for the LFMC's members.
- In August 2016, the Government of Jamaica, upon the recommendation of the Forestry Department, nominated the Dolphin Head Forest Reserve as Jamaica's to be a part of the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy (QCC). The nomination was accepted and in November 2016, Her Majesty The Queen hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace in England where Jamaica was among 20 countries that received certificates confirming that they were official partners of the QCC initiative. The QCC is a unique network of forest conservation initiatives, which involves all 52 countries of the Commonwealth. It was designed to highlight the best examples of forest management throughout the Commonwealth.