The study, which was funded by the Program on Forests (PROFOR) through the World Bank, involved several stakeholders including the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA); the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM); the University of California, Santa Cruz; and the University of the West Indies.
The study, entitled “Report Launch of the Forces of Nature Assessment and Economic Valuation of Coastal Protection Services provided by Mangroves in Jamaica (PROFOR Project)" was launched yesterday (November 20) at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.
Speaking at the launch, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz, noted that even with the presence of mangroves, the estimate of coastal flooding due to storms here in Jamaica has been put at US$136.4 million in damages.
“What is alarming though, is that without mangroves the estimated damage from flooding would be US$169 million annually”, the Minister said.
“Our mangroves are therefore estimated to provide US$32.7 million in protection to our coastlines. When you factor in the protection of approximately US$2.4 billion in assets (people and infrastructure) during storms, the value of mangroves is more than US$186 million per hectare of mangroves”, Minister Vaz said.
The Minister noted that because of the hilly features of the interior, much of Jamaica’s physical infrastructure such as our electricity generating plants, international airports and seaports, our major roadways among other assets, are located near our coastline.
“Mangroves act as the first and most significant line of defence. Their location between land and sea, their durability and flexibility make them a haven for biodiversity and add to their usefulness and productivity”, he said.
Minister Vaz commended the Forestry Department which is currently conducting an assessment of all the mangroves across Jamaica, to determine the national baseline status with regard to spatial distribution, composition and health.
Since the assessment started in January 2019, the Forestry Department has completed approximately 4600 hectares.
“On completion of this national assessment of the approximately 9700 hectares of mangroves identified in the 2013 land use assessment of Jamaica, the information will feed into the development of a National Mangrove Management Plan”, Minister Vaz said.
He also commended and congratulated all the stakeholders involved in the project.
“I believe in partnerships, particularly since we are all in this together. Natural hazards and climate change do not discriminate between rich or poor, man or woman, public sector or private. Prince or pauper, we are all going to be affected. I am particularly pleased that 62-Jamaicans comprising 75 per cent of the total project workforce, were involved in this project because it will translate to meaningful action at the local level”, Minister Vaz said.
He further added that the insightful and comprehensive research that went into this study will inform our policies, programmes, and plans in regard to disaster mitigation and recovery and in particular the conservation and restoration of our mangroves as we seek to ensure a sustainable future for Jamaica.
- Countries: Jamaica