Animals and Plants

Jamaica’s nature

Lots of sun, enough rain and a tropical climate ensure that nature in Jamaica grows lush. Large areas of the original rainforest in the interior have been cleared, but efforts are now being made to protect the remaining forest. Trees such as the West Indian cedar, but also orchids, ferns and bromeliads grow there. Towards the south coast there is dry forest and mangroves grow on all coasts. There are many endemic species among plants, so they are only found here.

The bauxite mines cause major environmental problems. Bauxite is an aluminum ore. The degradation not only destroys forests, but also creates unhealthy dust that pollutes the landscape. Too much fertilizer in agriculture and unfiltered sewage are also a problem.

Some areas are under nature protection. This includes the Pedro Bank area, a coral bank southwest of the main island. In addition to coral reefs, there are huge fields of seagrass that you want to protect, as well as the fauna with Caribbean manatees and hawksbill turtles that lay their eggs here.

Mammals? (Almost) nonexistent

As in the other Caribbean islands, there are few species of mammals in Jamaica, most of which are bats. Otherwise only the Jamaican hutia, which is one of the tree rats or hutias, originally comes from here. Animals later brought into the country from outside are the wild boar and mongoose.

The Pennant Tail and Other Birds

Birds, on the other hand, come in many species. They include many hummingbirds such as the pennant tail, which has been named a national bird. It is endemic to Jamaica, just like the Jamaican owl, the Jamaican woodpecker or the red-mirrored amazon, a parrot. Sea birds can be found on the coast, for example masked boobies or rose terns. You can see photos of them in the slideshow below.

The reptile world

Reptiles come in around 50 species. The largest representative is the American crocodile that lives in the Black River. Lizards come as anoles, iguanas and lizards. The Jamaican boa is one of the eight species of snakes in Jamaica. There are also turtles, for example the Antilles jeweled turtle.

Jamaica Wildlife


Tourism and bauxite

Jamaica’s economy rests primarily on two pillars: tourism and the extraction of natural resources, especially bauxite. Aluminum is made from bauxite. Jamaica is the fifth largest bauxite producer in the world. However, the mining of bauxite also causes major environmental problems. Tourists come around two million every year.

Money sent by Jamaicans living abroad is also a major boost to the economy. In order for the economy to grow, however, Jamaica’s problems in particular would have to be eliminated. These include the high national debt, a negative trade balance, strongly fluctuating exchange rates, high interest rates and high unemployment of 12.8 percent, but also a high crime rate, drug trafficking and corruption.

Sugar cane and bananas – agriculture

While agriculture played the most important role until the 1940s, its importance has sharply declined since then. Are grown sugar cane, bananas, coffee, citrus fruits, yams and ackee. Akee is a fruit that is widely used in Jamaican cuisine. Allspice, which is also called Jamaica pepper, is also grown. Agriculture only generates 7 percent for the country and 16 percent of the people work in this area.


The industry generates 21 percent and 16 percent of Jamaicans are employed here. Food, beverages, metals, paper and chemical products are produced. Bauxite is further processed into aluminum and other products.

Almost 72 percent of the country’s economic output comes from services.

Jamaica Wildlife and Economy
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