6Aerial Photograph of the Mason River Protected Area Road bordering the Mason River Protected AreaPeat Bog
7A Concise HistoryLate 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 SchizaeaSundew identification confirmed by George Proctor of the Natural History Division of the Institute of JamaicaSubsequent 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)
8Concise 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 TrustThe 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.
9Initial 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.
10Floral Diversity of MRGS Historically, focus has been on botanical research.Over 400 species of plants, including endemic, rare, introduced and invasive species have been reported.Venus Flytrap Dionaea muscipula (introduced species)Lindsaea portoricensis (rare species)Lisianthius exsertus (endemic species)
11Faunal Diversity of MRGS However, 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.DragonflyBush Lizard (Anolis sp.)Sparrow Hawk (Falco sparverius)
12Ecological Significance of Mason River Protected Area 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 BahamasPossibly 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.White-crowned PigeonOlive-throated ParakeetConnecticut Warbler (male and female)
13Conservation Challenges Tree removalFiresWandering livestockGreater community support and public education & outreachInvasive speciesTrespassingBirdshooting
14Conservation Opportunities Patrols by resident Forest Warden & AssistantExperimental field project on eradicating an invasive plantAcquisition of legal protection for the wildlife reserveEnvironmental education and public outreach
15Public Education & Outreach Checklist of the birds of MRGS for birdwatchingNature walks conducted by a resident Forest Warden & IOJ staffGreater community awareness about MRGS and biodiversity conservation from the periodic Open Day activitiesScenes from the Bird Project Open Day