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Discover the endemic, unique and native plants and animals in Jamaica!
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Our tropical Caribbean climate facilitates our renowned diverse ecosystems. It shelters, nurtures and stimulates the beautiful plants and animals life in Jamaica.
Jamaica's plant life however has changed considerably over the centuries.
When the Spanish came here in 1494, except for small agricultural clearings, the country was deeply forested. But the European settlers cut down the great timber trees for building purposes and cleared the plains, savannas, and mountain slopes for cultivation.
Many new plants were introduced including sugarcane, bananas, and citrus trees. We still however have a lot to be thankful for.
In the areas of heavy rainfall are stands of bamboo, ferns, ebony, mahogany, rosewood plus many indigenous flowers.
Cactus and similar dry-area plants are found along the south and
southwest coastal area.
Parts of our west and southwest areas consist of large grasslands, with scattered stands of trees. More on our Plants here.
The Jamaican animal life- typical of the Caribbean, includes a highly diversified bird life. Parrots, hummingbirds,cuckoos, and green todies provide examples. Other birds are abundant.
The wild hog is one of the few native mammals in Jamaica, but there are many reptiles and lizards, including the protected Jamaican Iguana.
Jamaican waters contain considerable resources of fresh-and saltwater fish. The chief varieties of saltwater fish are kingfish, jack, mackerel, whiting, bonito, and tuna. Freshwater varieties include snook, jewfish, grey and black snapper and mullet. More on the animals here.
Among the variety of terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems are dry and wet limestone forests, rainforest, riparian woodland, wetlands, caves, rivers, sea grass beds and coral reefs. Our biodiversity is indicated by a number five (5) ranking amongst countries worldwide.
[I secured a few pictures from my daughter's 'AnimalFarm' trip to share with you. You can take a peek at them here when you get a chance.
The authorities, recognized the tremendous significance andpotential of this aspect of our heritage, designated some of our more 'fertile' areas 'protected'.
Among the island's protected areas are the Cockpit Country, Hellshire Hills, and Litchfield forest reserves.
In 1992, Jamaica's first marine park, covering nearly 6 square miles (about 15 square km), was established in Montego Bay. [Just a few kilometers from where I live]
The following year Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park was created on roughly 300 square miles (780 square km) of wilderness that supports thousands of tree and fern species, rare animals and insects,such as the Homerus swallowtail, the Western Hemisphere's largest butterfly and the Jamaican Boa snake.
The JPAT (Jamaica Protected Areas Trust) is developing a website which will provide helpful information on most of the Protected Areas in the island, which are home to many of the native plants and animals in Jamaica.
Remember, for a little more information on the plants and animals in Jamaica, go to the Plants in Jamaica article and the Animals in Jamaica page from here.
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