Mason River Protected Area in Clarendon, Jamaica
A section of the Mason River Protected Area located at 18.011724N and 77.151754W, managed by the Natural History Division of the Institute of Jamaica.
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Slide1MASON RIVER PROTECTED AREA CLARENDON, JAMAICA MASON RIVER PROTECTED AREA CLARENDON, JAMAICA Natural History Division, Institute of Jamaica Natural History Division, Institute of Jamaica
Slide2Location of Mason River Protected Area18 0 11’.724N 77 0 15’.754W
Slide6Aerial Photograph ofthe Mason River Protected Area Peat Bog Road bordering the Mason River Protected Area
Slide7A Concise History• Late 1950s : 2 University College of the West Indies professors trace mysterious spot on aerial photos to a peat bog in Mason River. • Professors Skelding and Loveless made 1st records of Jamaica’s only native insectivorous plant, the Sundew, and a fern called Schizaea • Sundew identif ication confirmed by George Proctor of the Natural History Division of the Institute of Jamaica • Subsequent visits to Mason River by G. Proctor and colleagues revealed species of shrubs new to science and at least 12 plants previously unknown in Jamaica! Sundew (Drosera capillaris)
Slide8Concise History (cont.)• 1962 : Discussions start with Institute of Jamaica and the then owner of the land. • 1963 : Land to be bought by the Jamaica National Trust Commission (JNTC)- now the Jamaica National Heritage Trust • The JNTC designate the Institute of Jamaica’s, Natural History Division as the active manager of the property subsequently named the Mason River Field Station. • 1998 : Mason River Field Station was later renamed Mason River Game Sanctuary (MRGS) under the NRCA Act 1991. • mid-2002 : Intention to declare MRGS, Protected National Heritage under JNHT Act 1985. • late 2002 : Declared a Protected Area under the NRCA Act 1991.
Slide9Initial Reasons for a Wildlife Reserve at Mason River • Protecting the remaining regenerating forest and other vegetation of botanical interest from human interference and degradation. • Facilitation of botanical research in a unique ecosystem – an upland scrub savanna. • Provision of an opportunity to be actively involved in and educate on wildlife conservation and management.
Slide10Floral Diversity of MRGSHistorically, focus has been on botanical research. Over 400 species of plants, including endemic, rare, introduced and invasive species have been reported. Lisianthius exsertus (endemic species) Lindsaea portoricensis (rare species) Venus Flytrap Dionaea muscipula (introduced species)
Slide11Faunal Diversity of MRGSHowever, there are several opportunities for faunal research. Inventories needed for insects, the most diverse group, as well as snails, frogs, lizards, birds, bats and mongoose. Bush Lizard ( Anolis sp.) Sparrow Hawk ( Falco sparverius) Dragonfly
Slide12ecological significance of mason river protected areaWhite-crowned Pigeon Olive-throated Parakeet • Favourable habitat for locally restricted species. E.g. Sundew (Jamaica’s only native insect-eating plant) • Favourable habitat for regionally restricted species. E.g. * Passion Flower ( Passiflora penduliflora ) occurs only in Jamaica and Cuba * the Greater Antillean Long-tongued Bat ( Monophyllus redmani) is endemic to the Greater Antilles and southern Bahamas • Possibly a critical habitat for the Connecticut Warbler and other migratory wood warblers. (Further research required) • Provides a refuge for the White-crowned Pigeon which historically has been a popular bird with birdshooters. Connecticut Warbler (male and female)
Slide13Conservation ChallengesTree removal Fires Trespassing Wandering livestock Invasive species Birdshooting Greater community support and public education & outreach
Slide14Conservation Opportunities Patrols by resident Forest Warden & Assistant Experimental field project on eradicating an invasive plant Acquisition of legal protection for the wildlife reserve Environmental education and public outreach
Slide15Public Education & Outreach Checklist of the birds of MRGS for birdwatching Nature walks conducted by a resident Forest Warden & IOJ staff Greater community awareness about MRGS and biodiversity conservation from the periodic Open Day activities Scenes from the Bird Project Open Day