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Jamaica

Portland Bight Protected Area

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Conservation benefit: Construction of a ranger dormitory and improvements to the Seacology-funded field office for the enforcement of the 460,000-acre Portland Bight Protected Area

Date Approved: 08.2014

Forest

This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

Mangroves

This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

Ocean

This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Seagrass

This project protects seagrass, which traps more CO2 than any other marine ecosystem, slowing global warming.

The Jamaican government created the Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA), the country’s biggest protected area, in 1999. The coastline includes the largest mangrove system in Jamaica. The mangroves, along with extensive seagrass beds and coral reefs, likely make up the largest nursery for fish and shellfish on the island. The land area includes 81 square miles of dry limestone forests and 32 square miles of wetlands. Many vulnerable and endemic species live there. The PBPA is also home to 44 villages with a total of 50,000 inhabitants. The area contains the highest concentration of fishers in Jamaica.

In 2010, Seacology provided funding for a new office (constructed from used shipping containers) to help the Caribbean Coastal Area Management (C-CAM) Foundation and the protected area’s rangers protect the area. With funding from CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, Seacology is making a grant to C-CAM to build a ranger dormitory. It will also be built using shipping containers. The grant will also fund a solar cooling system for the ranger station and other upgrades, including a restroom block. These improvements will allow this site to continue as a vital education and conservation hub serving rangers, staff, and visitors.

Project Updates

January 2016

Field representative Krishna Desai reports that all the planned upgrades have been completed. The new station has been built and is occupied by a caretaker. Two new energy-efficient air conditioning units have been installed at the original station; a restroom and shower have also been added, and the wastewater treatment system has been upgraded. A new tower has significantly improved the operating range of the radio communication system. The repeater radio equipment has been refurbished and installed on the tower, and an independent electrical power system, including new solar panel and batteries, has been installed. Conservation efforts are ongoing.

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Full or partial funding for this project provided by CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.

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