February 25, 2014

Watershed management project initiated for Cumberland Forest Reserve

The National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority, with support from the Forestry Department, have embarked on an Integrated Watershed Management Planning and Forest Reserve Protection Project in the Central Mountain Range Conservation Corridor of the country.{{more}}

The aim of the project is to develop an integrated watershed management plan for the Cumberland Forest Reserve.

It is being funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and is being executed through the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute.

Through the implementation of this project, emphasis will be placed on a number of components, including mapping and zoning of the watershed by forest types and habitat; development of a rapid biodiversity inventory; the development of a wildlife conservation strategy, with emphasis on the key biodiversity assets; a plan to grow trees to improve forest management and ecosystem service functions; and the development of a corporate agreement between watershed stakeholders.

Some of the other components include recommendations and interventions specific to upper watershed soil and water conservation and recommendations regarding key livelihood activities based on the use of watershed resources to promote sustainability and conservation of watershed resources.

The project includes a significant public awareness campaign that will seek to sensitize the public on the value of biodiversity and forest conservation.

It was also noted that included as part of the project would be the execution of two knowledge, attitude and practice surveys and the development of a public awareness strategy.

This part of the project is expected to be implemented over a 10-month period.

The project is expected to bring together key stakeholders, who all have an interest in the watershed and in the area of management, protection and use of the watershed.

It is expected that the outcome of the integrated watershed management project will be an established inter-agency agreement, which will govern the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders that utilize the Cumberland watershed.

The outcomes of the project will also serve as a useful model for other watersheds and protected areas throughout the country.