Jamaica’s Biological Diversity

The Jamaica Observer stresses that, in spite of its socio-economic ills, Jamaica has managed to distinguish itself in a positive manner, especially for its rich biological diversity. According to the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) the island’s rich array of species is influenced by its rich and varied topography, geology, terrain, and climate.

The island, despite its small size, is rich in plants, animals, micro-organisms, their derivatives and their ecosystems. Jamaica is, in fact, ranked fifth in the world in terms of its endemic plants and biodiversity. The American crocodile — this one photographed at the Hope Zoo in Kingston — is among the 43 species of reptiles found in Jamaica. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)

Species Biodiversity: Species diversity, according to NEPA, takes into account all species present within various terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats and includes, among other things, birds, reptiles, mammals, fish, insects, crustaceans (such as shrimp, lobsters and krill), plants, and micro-organism.

Jamaica’s terrestrial flora (land-based plants) includes 579 species of ferns, 67 or 12 per cent of which are endemic; 230 species of orchids, 60 or 26 per cent of which are endemic; 20 species of cacti, 10 or 50 per cent of which are endemic; 10 species of palms, seven or 70 per cent of which are endemic; 60 species of bromeliads, 22 or 37 per cent of which are endemic; and 200 species of grass, one or 0.5 per cent of which are endemic.

Jamaica’s terrestrial fauna (land-based animals) includes 514 land snails, 505 or 98 per cent of which are endemic; 211 species of rotifers (also called wheel animals), 21 or 10 per cent of which are endemic; 133 species of butterflies, 20 or 15 per cent of which are endemic; 67 species of land birds, 30 or 45 per cent of which are endemic; 59 species of ants, six or 10 per cent of which are endemic; 43 species of reptiles, 33 or 77 per cent of which are endemic; 39 species of shore and sea birds, one or 2.6 per cent of which is endemic; 26 species of jumping spiders, 20 or 77 per cent of which are endemic; 21 species of bats, four or 20 per cent of which are endemic; and 48 species of fireflies, 45 or 93.8 per cent of which are endemic.

For full article, see http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Jamaica-s-natural-wealth_8868563#ixzz1NoEnYL1T

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