FSC announces official release of new FSC Interim Forest Stewardship Standard for Jamaica, effective March 1, 2024; approximately 40% of mainland is covered by forests, of which 75% is privately owned, with diverse classes of forests

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December 1, 2023 (press release) –

The new standard becomes effective on 01 March 2024.

FSC is delighted to announce the official release of the new FSC Interim Forest Stewardship Standard (IFSS) for Jamaica. This standard underscores our commitment to social responsibility, environmental protection, and economic sustainability by translating FSC's Principles and Criteria into effective Forest Management practices.

Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean Sea, located 145 km to the south of Cuba, and spans over 10,991 km2. It boasts a tropical climate characterized by a distinct rainy season, with diverse classes of forests, including primary or closed broadleaf, disturbed broadleaf, wetland, tall and short open dry forests. These forests, spread across coastal areas to high mountains, play a crucial role in biodiversity preservation and water supply of the country. The Forestry Department of Jamaica reveals that approximately 40% of the mainland is covered by forests, out of which 75% is privately owned.

The country is home to 13 protected areas, covering about 6.1% of the total land area, housing rich biodiversity, including 923 endemic plant species. Jamaica, while actively participating in international policies on the environment, climate change, and sustainability, is committed to prevent forest conversion, aligning with its policy position of "no net loss". Simultaneously, the country aims to foster the development of a viable, profitable, and sustainable forestry sector. As Jamaica's economy grows and it takes a leading role in addressing climate change, the nation recognizes the business potential of its forests to achieve inclusive growth and sustainability. In pursuit of this national imperative of Jamaica, the IFSS for Jamaica is seen as a critical and important tool for the uplift of the local forest sector, expanding business opportunities for Jamaican producers of timber and non-timber forest products. Additionally, it holds the potential for niche production of high-value and quality tropical hardwoods, meeting the high demand internationally.

Developed between November 2021 and March 2022, integrated with  a stakeholder consultation, this new IFSS will allow forest owners to apply for FSC certification under this standard. This makes it possible for the Organizations to enter an expanded market, increasing the potential to revolutionize the industry with more desirable and competitive products having met stringent international forest management standards and practices- thereby allowing them to be greater contributors to economic growth and job creation.

For those interested, the official (English) version of the IFSS for Jamaica is available in the FSC Document Centre. Inquiries regarding the standard can be directed to nationalstandards@fsc.org.


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