- Last Updated on 28 June 2015
The Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) is a non-government organization incorporated and registered as a charity in 1988. The organization was established by a group of professionals who recognized that economic development in Jamaica will only be sustained if the natural environment is conserved.
To promote environmental conservation and sustainable development, with particular emphasis on the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, for the benefit of Jamaica and our people.
Goals (as per Strategic Plan 2010 – 2014):
- Protect and conserve the natural and cultural heritage resources of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park
- Jamaicans understand the importance of, and are practicing sustainable use of their natural resources in their daily lives
- Jamaicans recognize the importance of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park as a national asset.
- To enhance the public profile of JCDT
- Improve and maintain an efficiently and effectively managed organisation
- Become financially sustainable within five years.
Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park (BJCMNP)
The Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is collaboratively managed by the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) on behalf of the Natural Resources Conservation Authority and the National Environment and Planning Agency and in association with the Forestry Department and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust along with the Windward Maroon Councils.
The BJCMNP is almost 50,000 ha (about 100,000 acres) – twice that, if the rugged terrain is considered. It covers the steep mountain slopes of ten watersheds and sections of the parishes of St. Andrew, Portland, St. Thomas and St. Mary. The montane rain-forests of the Park are recognized globally for their high biological diversity and threatened status.
The forests of the National Park are:-
- one of two known habitats of the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly – largest butterfly in the Western Hemisphere
- important habitat for many Jamaican birds and winter habitat for many migratory birds
- home to numerous orchids, bromeliads and ferns that are found nowhere else in the world
- essential for absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen – cleansing the air and reducing global warming
- necessary for conserving the highly erodible soil of the area – preventing soil erosion and landslides
- vital for providing water – the Park supplies over 40% of the population of Jamaica
- a component of the socio-cultural traditions highlighted annually at Misty Bliss
- last resting place of the Windward Maroon Freedom Fighters and site of Nanny Town
The major threats to the biological diversity and ecosystem health of the Park have been identified as deforestation and degradation of the forest by clearing of land for agriculture, logging, squatting and by fires and overgrowth of invasive plant species.
The JCDT manages the National Park under the following programmes:-
- Natural Heritage Conservation e.g. reforestation and forest rehabilitation including native species nursery
- Cultural Heritage Preservation - working with the JNHT and Windward Maroons
- Enforcement e.g. patrols, marking of boundaries
- Education/Public Involvement e.g. building capacity of buffer zone communities for environmental management and sustainable livelihoods, School Programmes and Interpretive Programme at Holywell.
- Recreation/Tourism – development and operation of ecotourism attractions e.g. Holywell
- Monitoring & Evaluation e.g. Threats-monitoring using GIS and photography, bird and fresh-water macro-invertebrate monitoring
- Governance & Administration e.g. collaboration, planning, fundraising, project and financial management, marketing.
Current Projects include:-
Funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund through the Tourism Product Development Company: - Improvements at Holywell
Funded by the Forest Conservation Fund:
- Forest Conservation and Soil Stabilisation
- Capacity Building
The JCDT’s other main project has been the biennial environmental exposition – Green Expo. This three day event featured environmentally friendly products & services and the government, private sector & non-government organizations that provide them or are involved in conservation. Green Expo was last held on June 4 – 6, 2009.
Whilst project funding is available (usually on an annual basis from various donor agencies) funding for operational expenses is very difficult to obtain hence management programmes are often projectised. Funding for day-to-day operations of the JCDT and National Park comes from the Government of Jamaica through the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (about 30% of budget), grants, donations, sponsorship and income generated from Recreational Areas at Holywell and Portland Gap (last stop before Blue Mountain Peak) and from special events. At least 70% of the funding for the national park is raised by the JCDT.