Website Category: Islands;
Area: 263 km2
Criteria (mixed site):
Significant number of rare, endemic and/or endangered species (x)
Cultural criteria (iii, vi)
Location and Values: The Blue and John Crow Mountains site is located in the highlands of eastern Jamaica, and occupies the higher-lying parts of these mountain ranges from elevations of about 850m to Jamaica’s highest peak at 2,256m. Most of the site is covered by various types of forest, including montane forest, cloud forest and (at higher elevations) elfin forest. These forests represent some of the last remaining areas of contiguous natural forest in the Caribbean region and support an exceptionally high concentration of rare and endangered species, including many Jamaica endemics. For example, 22% of the 1,357 species of flowering plant recorded at the site are Jamaica endemics. For birds, Jamaica is notable for having the highest number of endemic species of any Caribbean island (including five endemic genera), many of which are protected in the Blue and John Crow Mountains.
In addition to its importance for biodiversity, the area carries great cultural significance, having served as a natural refuge for indigenous Tainos people fleeing slavery, and for escaped African slaves, known as Maroons. The settlement of Nanny Town was established by these people and now provides an archaeological record of this grim colonial legacy, together with the associated forest trails, lookouts, hiding places etc. Meanwhile, many of the beliefs, music and traditions that were practiced in the mountain refuge live on as intangible heritage.
UNESCO Official Website
IUCN Conservation Outlook