Private sector entities are being encouraged to invest in biodiversity as part of their corporate social responsibility by participating in the National Environment and Planning Agency’s (NEPA) Adopt-A-Mangrove programme.
Through this engagement, NEPA is seeking to leverage additional financial support for the management of several mangrove plots within the Palisadoes-Port Royal Protected Area (P-PRPA).
The P-PRPA is approximately 13,500 hectares located on Jamaica’s southeast coast.
Representatives of several of the island’s largest corporate entities were invited to participate in a mangrove boat tour through the P-PRPA, which was conducted by the University of the West Indies (UWI) Port Royal Marine Lab in Kingston, on Friday (June 2). The UWI Biodiversity Centre was also toured.
These formed part of efforts to, among other things, highlight the importance of this ecosystem.
Coordinator of the Ecosystems at NEPA, Chanel Raynor, said the mangroves are important to the health of marine life and livelihoods.
“The Adopt-A-Mangrove programme is an opportunity for private sector stakeholders, community groups, and individuals to contribute to the wider initiative by NEPA and the Government of Jamaica towards ecosystem restoration,” she informed.
Raynor emphasised the need for private sector support of the programme, which requires financial and other inputs in the solid waste management component.
“Depending on the commitment level that the entity is willing to take on, we can customise a programme specifically for them so that everybody can be involved; and everybody can play a part in what we are trying to achieve. What we are focusing on is solid waste mitigation and replanting and also, for certain sites, restoring hydrology,” she noted.
“Solid waste [has a] major impact on our mangroves. So what the programme focuses on is getting financial commitments to install fencing around mangrove seedlings that we have planted, to prevent them from being swallowed by solid waste,” Raynor added.
The tour is part of activities being hosted by NEPA, in observance of National Environmental Awareness Week from June 2 to 8.
Revitalising mangroves will serve to strengthen the core functions of this ecosystem, which are to absorb Jamaica’s storm surge impacts and prevent soil erosion.
The initiative, which is spearheaded by NEPA, is an extension of wetland restoration projects and other volunteer efforts geared towards the protection, conservation, and replenishment of mangroves.