Natural History Museum of Jamaica launches “Endemic Trees of Jamaica”
The Natural History Museum of Jamaica (NHMJ) on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 launched “Endemic Trees of Jamaica,” a publication documenting critical information on over 300 trees endemic to Jamaica, that is, about ten percent of Jamaica’s flowering plants.
Dr. Eric Garraway, President of the Natural History Society of Jamaica (NHSJ) lauded the publication of the book saying it was a step in the right direction in documenting Jamaica’s natural history. “We are just beginning. There is so much to be written about. The problem in the natural history world is there is not much documentation to look to,” he said.
Prof Ronald Young, Chairman, Board of Management, NHMJ said Jamaicans are not a people renowned for paying attention to the environment and this is partly due to the fact that much of the information is not documented. He said the publication of this book is a good example of how you act locally but think globally. He noted that Jamaica is losing not only a very aesthetic part of its heritage when trees are destroyed but also a scientific part of its heritage. He encouraged Jamaicans to look at protecting the biodiversity of the island for the benefit of its children. Each endemic tree in the book has an individual page that covers information such as the scientific name, synonyms, common names, family, description, flowering and fruiting period, distribution, general information, specimen images, photographs and distribution maps.
This information is conveyed with less jargon in comparison to the typical botanical publication. With this presentation accompanied with live plant or specimen images, it is envisioned that readers are more likely to be able to identify these Jamaican treasures. Through knowledge of this information, it is hoped that better decisions will be made with respect to conservation of Jamaica’s natural heritage.
Mrs. Karen McDonald Gayle, Chief Executive Officer (acting) of the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) said this book will leave an indelible mark on the scientific community and will develop and enhance knowledge in and about Jamaica.
The project to research, do fieldwork and produce this book was executed by the botany department of the NHMJ funded by the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica to the tune of approximately 5 million dollars. The project was administered by the Natural History Society of Jamaica. Copies of the publication can be purchased from Natural History Museum of Jamaica, The Institute of Jamaica by calling 922-0620-6.