Aerial view of the distinctive topography of Jamaica’s Cockpit Country
Inheritance Bibliography/Reading List:
Relevant Excerpts from 2013 UWI report on boundary consultations:
Results: Most people living within the Cockpit Country would like it to be declared and designated as a protected area and a national park, an ecotourism site and a World Heritage Site. There is vehement opposition to bauxite mining and limestone quarrying within the Cockpit Country. Some stakeholders believed that geology and geomorphology are foundational factors in identifying the Cockpit Country. However, these factors could not be the only parameters to take into account when defining the boundary of the Cockpit Country.
There is an agreement that economic opportunities for the local communities and the nation at large should be part of the Cockpit Country boundary discussion. Several representatives from the Governmental agencies support a balanced approach between the local economy and the national interest. There is full agreement that the defined boundary of the Cockpit Country should ensure watershed protection and the protection of the natural resources and the ecosystems.
Land tenure (Private versus Crown) should be addressed and incentives should be provided to Private land owners depending on the future of the Cockpit Country. Discussions should take place with the Accompong Maroon Council in order to resolve issues related to ownership rights, conservation and management of the natural resources. There are conflicts between the stakeholders about the use of the Cockpit Country’s natural resources. Some stakeholders would like controlled use of the natural resources and amenities by establishing new practices such as sustainable farming, improved land use patterns, ecotourism activities, etc... Other stakeholders would like the natural resources to remain undisturbed…
1. There is an urgent need to develop a long vision for the Cockpit Country and evaluate the true cost of ecosystem services provided by the Cockpit Country for Jamaica and the World vis-à-vis the permanent removal of mineral resources under current technological conditions.
2. One of the biggest contributions of the Cockpit Country to the national economy is the provision of potable water. The Water Resource Authority insisted that 40% of water production in Jamaica is supplied by the Cockpit Country aquifer (WRA, 2004). The tourism sector in western Jamaica greatly benefits from the ecological services provided by the Cockpit Country aquifer in terms of water supply and water quality. The Cockpit Country Forest plays a critical role in sustaining water security in Jamaica.
3. The Government of Jamaica should not authorise any form of mining and quarrying activity within the Cockpit Country as the level of emotion is too high and the level of opposition and resistance by community members and leaders, community-based organisations, Non-governmental and civil society organisations, some governmental agencies and members of the academic community may not provide enough guarantee and confidence for potential investors.
4. The Cockpit Country deserves some form of legal protection. The declaration of a protected area and national park is the first step toward the ultimate goal, which is the nomination of the Cockpit Country as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
5. The official boundary for the Cockpit Country should be comprised of a Core, a Transition Zone and an Outer Boundary.
6. The Core of the Cockpit Country boundary should be primarily based on the contiguous geological, geomorphological and biological parameters. The Core must be the centre of the best and primary forest within the Cockpit Country.
Conflicting boundaries - CCSG (stakeholders group including scientific research, geomorphology, underground hydrology and existing communities) vs. CCPA (government boundary)
CCSG = 116238 hectares (other sources round up to 500 sq. mi.)
CCPA = 78024 hectares
Suggested reading for alternate value systems leading to economic solutions:
Costa Rica is the first tropical country to have stopped and reversed deforestation