This poster tells the story of a national park in a country which values diversity and partnerships and the role they play in resilience. Jamaica´s motto states, "Out of Many, One People" and our black, green and gold flag symbolises the hope within the cultural and natural resources of the island: "the sun shineth, the land is green and the people are strong and creative". We will provide examples of challenges weathered by the forest ecosystems and park management.
The Windward Maroons who first occupied the land where the national park now stands are the archetype of Maroonage – the resistance of African and Amerindian people to European enslavement in the western hemisphere. The landscape and biodiversity in the Blue and John Crow Mountains provided the resources for the Maroons to develop a unique culture and attain independence from colonial rule in 1740. Their descendants maintain their culture and revere the Mountains as the last resting place of their freedom fighting ancestors.
By the late 18th century, recognising the danger to water supplies from clearing the forests for coffee, a vast area was protected as a forest reserve. In 1993, recognising the internationally significant high level of biodiversity (Jamaica has the fifth highest percentage floral endemism among islands of the world), the area was declared Jamaica´s first national park. Nineteen years later, the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is still in operation, protecting one-third of Jamaica´s natural forest. It is managed collaboratively by three relevant government agencies, with a NGO (JCDT) delegated operational management. The park has weathered many challenges, and JCDT works with local communities to value and conserve biodiversity by sharing nature´s benefits through the Park´s Sustainable Tourism Programme, and the Conservation Programme grows native, non-lumber species for forest rehabilitation in the park´s Recovery Zone.