My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: NEPA and UNDP Jamaica Invasive Species Database - Why Jamaicans may be the Environment's worst Enemy

Friday, October 23, 2015

NEPA and UNDP Jamaica Invasive Species Database - Why Jamaicans may be the Environment's worst Enemy

“(Jamaica) has more than 8,000 recorded species of plants and animals and 3,500 marine species, which is a lot for a small island, so we have to recognise that and preserve and protect it,”

Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP, Dr. Elsie Laurence-Chounoune speaking at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday October 14th 2015

It's very possible that someone from outside of Jamaica can bring plants and animals that can be potentially devastating to our ecosystem.

For this reason, the NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) with support from UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has launched Jamaica's first JSID (Jamaica Invasive Species Database) to track these plants and animals as reported in the article “Jamaica Invasive Species Database Launched”, published October 19, 2015 by Chris Patterson, The Jamaica Information Service.

The JSID was launched at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday October 14th 2015, where they showed a really nice power point presentation entitled National Database on Alien Invasive Species.

The JSID Website that acts as the main access to peruse the Database is now live for everyone to peruse at the following URL:

Along with the JSID, a JCHM (Jamaica Clearing House Mechanism) has been set up at the Natural History Museum, Institute of Jamaica to provide information on these invaders while they are in Jamaica.

This JCHM allows NEPA to track both the invasive as well as our local endemic species and take preventative steps to prevent them getting into Jamaica and managing the population of those already here.

Good to note here that this JSID is the result of the National Biodiversity Strategic and Action Plan Project that was developed by NEPA with support from UNDP. By its implementation, Jamaica is implementing their Biodiversity management systems in keeping with the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The JSID not only track plans and animals, but virus, bacterium, prion, fungus, viroid or parasitic plants and animals that can cause a disease that cause economic or environmental harm to plants and animal resources on the land, rivers or seas or make Jamaicans sick, resulting in the loss of productivity.

NEPA and UNDP Jamaica Invasive Species Database - Why Jamaicans may be the Environment's worst Enemy

As Jamaica's economy is dependent on it Natural resources, systems have to be put in place to contend with anything that can kill animals and plants directly or by competing for resources as well as humans.

It also covers potential future tragedies such as someone releasing pets such as Goldfish into our rivers or Crown of Thorns Starfish destroying Coral Reef  as is happening in Australia as noted in my blog article entitled “Queensland University of Technology COTSbot - How Crown-of-Thorns Starfish killer can also do Lionfish and gigantic Goldfish”. 

Still, not so crazy about such plans as placing a ban on eating Parrotfish in order to build up the Coral Reef and thereby reduce beach erosion as explained in my blog article entitled “How Parrotfish and Sea Urchins ban saves Coral Reef, Beaches and US$3 billion Jamaican Tourism”.

But it is for the greater good, as truth be told, the most invasive species in Jamaica is really Jamaicans and all human activity. Import restrictions on plants and animals are keeping most of the pathogens that cause disease out of the island.

Still, we do have a penchant for exotic animals and pets and I'm praying we don't end up like Aruba.

The “A” in the ABC island is currently dealing with a massive snake problem cause by a tourist back in the 90's releasing Boa Constrictors after leaving the island as declared in the article “The hitchhiking snakes of the Caribbean”, published 10 May 2015 By Rob Crossan, BBC.

They bred like rabbits and are now a major menace to small animal, which they eat whole, albeit they’re harmless to humans. To this end, the authorities are paying locals US$10 to capture, dead or alive! 

Jamaicans already exploit the island’s resources. A massive PR Campaign will be needed to get Jamaicans on board with the JSID from NEPA and UNDP and spot unusual animals and plants, invasive or endemic and report them in order to effect a strategy to control their population.

Otherwise we might end up like Aruba as a snake invasion is not something Jamaica can deal with at this point in time.

Here's the link:

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