Jamaica Fifty Feature! – Fifty years of research and conservation

Sundew (Drosera capillaris)

With the exception of some forest reserves, the Mason River Protected Area is one of Jamaica’s oldest terrestrial reserves. In 1962, Institute of Jamaica  botanist  (George Proctor) contributed to international recognition of a rare Jamaican ecosystem when he described the vegetation of the Mason River area to a meeting of the Linnaean Society of London1. The description was based on field data collected since 1956 by Prof. A.D. Skelding and Dr. R. Loveless of the University College of the West Indies, and George Proctor. By 1962, a growing collection of dried plant specimens from the Mason River area had been established at the Institute of Jamaica herbarium. The Sundew (Drosera capillaris) was one of the first plants to be described and a first record at the time for Jamaica. It is a native insect-eating plant found at this protected area.


When land encompassing the Mason River ecosystem was put on sale, the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) initiated discussions on protecting the land. In 1963, the Jamaica National Trust Commission, (now the Jamaica National Heritage Trust), bought the Mason River property. However, the scientific arm of the Institute of Jamaica, (now the Natural History Museum of Jamaica), was asked to be the active manager of the property. The museum has been instrumental in researching and conserving the Mason River biodiversity for over fifty years.
Proctor, G.  1970.  Mason River Field Station.  Jamaica Journal Quarterly of the Institute of Jamaica Vol. 4 (2): 29-33

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