The Cockpit Country, located in west-central Jamaica is an outstanding center of the island’s natural and cultural heritage and a repository of economically important resources. The main conservation area, bounded by the “Ring Road” is 450 km2 in size and includes 22,327 hectares of forest reserves.
The Cockpit Country is a karstic area characterized by dense formations of rounded peaks and steep-sided, bowl-shaped depressions sculpted over millennia by erosion and chemical dissolution of limestone. This has resulted in an extensive network of caves.
27 of Jamaica’s 28 endemic bird species are found in the area along with 1,500 species of plants and several species of amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates. Many of these species are found only in this area, some confined to only one hilltop.
Given the Cockpit Country’s rich biological and cultural resources, there has been for several decades, a widespread consensus in support of its sustainable management. Groups actively involved in Cockpit Country conservation currently include local communities, community-based organizations (CBOs), several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government agencies, and business interests.