MBZ Fund supports Jamaican plant research

ABU DHABI, 25th December, 2017 (WAM) — The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, MBZ, is to support research into a reassessment of the conservation status of the Mountain Cinnamon, Cinnamodendron corticosum, a flowering plant native to the rainforest of Jamaica, it has been announced.

Classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the Red Data list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, the plant is believed to be present only in remaining areas of rainforest between 300 metres and 1,000 metres in the eastern Jamaican parishes of Portland and St. Thomas. Its native habitat, especially in St. Thomas, has been very heavily degraded and destroyed, with very little of the rainforest remaining. Growing to between 3 and 10 metres in height, Mountain Cinnamon is harvested from the wild by local inhabitants for use as a spice and medicine.

The area where the plant grows lies within the Blue and John Crow Mountain National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is one of the richest biodiversity sites in the world. It is home to over 1,300 flowering plant species, the largest butterfly in the Americas and over 200 species of native and migratory birds. Jamaica’s highest point, the Blue Mountain Peak, lies within the Park.

The project will seek to map the distribution of the Mountain Cinnamon and to collect the views of local inhabitants in Portland parish on the harvesting of the species and on its future conservation, to facilitate a review of its conservation status.

The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the New York Botanic Gardens and the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust.

Founded in 2008 His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund has so far given over US$16.5 million in over 1,700 grants for conservation projects for over 1,100 species or sub-species of plants and animals throughout the world.

Source: Emirates News Agency