Greening of the Caribbean: Adapting Naturally for the Future
The Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), in association with the Forest Conservation Fund, the Jamaica Protected Areas Trust and the Forestry Department, presented the 9th Annual EFJ Public Lecture on Thursday October 17, 2013 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. The lecture was presented by Dr Ariel Lugo, Director of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service in Puerto Rico on the topic “Greening of the Caribbean: Adapting Naturally for the Future”.
Speaking to an audience representing a wide cross-section of Jamaicans, Dr. Lugo presented the case of Puerto Rico which has seen its forest cover improving with the introduction of new (“novel”) forests through new plantings and introduction of new tree stocks to the region. While stating that he was speaking from his Puerto Rican experience, Dr. Lugo noted data that showed that though humans have been dominant and are having a significant impact on the earth (the anthropocene era), in the Caribbean region this dominance has resulted in improvements through conservation and planting efforts.
Dr. Lugo’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion featuring panellists Mr. Keron Campbell, Botanist at the Institute of Jamaica; Ms. Marilyn Headley, CEO and Conservator of Forests at the Forestry Department; Mr. Maurice Mason, Environmental Economist at the Institute of Sustainable Development; Dr. Oral Rainford, Senior Director in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining; and Mr. Michael Schwartz from Windsor Research Centre in the Cockpit Country.
The panellists and Dr. Lugo fielded questions from the audience, with participants seeking answers to questions ranging from how persons can reap economic benefits from the forests to those questioning the wisdom of having “novel” forests rather than protecting the indigenous forests.
As has become the norm, the EFJ Public Lecture also featured displays by grant beneficiaries who have projects related to the particular subject matter. Among the exhibitors this year were Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC), Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (CCAM), UWI Port Royal Marine Laboratory (PRML), Local Initiative Facility for the Environment (LIFE), Dolphin Head and Buff Bay Local Forest Management Committees (LFMCs), Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT), and Clarendon Parish Development Committee Benevolent Society (CPDC). Most exhibitors showcased products which were derived from our forests.
The 9th Annual Public Lecture was hosted in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Forestry Department and recognises the additional focus of the Foundation given the impending merger with the Forest Conservation Fund. Patrons at the lecture were each given a seedling to plant as part of the Department’s anniversary observation.
Please see booklet here