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Jamaica - Leisure, Entertainment and Sports
Wildlife & Nature
Jamaica's plant life has changed considerably over the centuries. When the Spanish came here in 1494- except for small agricultural clearings- the country was deeply forested, but the European settlers cut down the great timber trees for building purposes and cleared the plains, savannas, and mountain slopes for cultivation. Many new plants were introduced including sugarcane, bananas, and citrus trees.
In the areas of heavy rainfall are stands of bamboo, ferns, ebony, mahogany, and rosewood. Cactus and similar dry-area plants are found along the south and southwest coastal area. Parts of the west and southwest consist of large grasslands, with scattered stands of trees.
The Jamaican animal life, typical of the caribbean, includes a highly diversified bird life. Parrots, hummingbird, cuckoos, and green todies for example. The wild hog is one of the few native mammals in Jamaica, but there are many reptiles and lizards. Birds are abundant.
Jamaican waters contain considerable resources of fresh-and saltwater fish. The chief varieties of saltwater fish are kingfish, jack, mackerel, whiting, bonito, and tuna. Freshwater varieties include snook, jewfish, gray and black snapper, and mullet.
The biodiversity is indicated by a number five ranking amongst countries worldwide of the endemic plants and animals in Jamaica.
The authorities had recognized the tremendous significance and potential of this aspect of their heritage and designated some of the more 'fertile' areas 'protected'. Among the island's protected areas are the Cockpit Country, Hellshire Hills, and Litchfield forest reserves. In 1992, Jamaica's first marine park, covering nearly 6 square miles (about 15 square km), was established in Montego Bay.
The following year Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park was created on roughly 300 square miles (780 square km) of wilderness that supports thousands of tree and fern species, rare animals, and insects, such as the Homerus swallowtail, the Western Hemisphere's largest butterfly.
Read more about this country
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