The Kingston Harbour Marine Basin, approximately 50 km² (5,000 hectares) – part of a protected RAMSAR wetlands site – hosts mangrove ecosystems that provide key sustenance to Kingston Harbour marine and fish life, birds, mammals and reptiles, in addition to shoreline stabilisation for key infrastructure such as airports, shipping ports, real estate and manufacturers located in these coastal areas. The livelihoods of 3,000+ fisherfolk from eight artisanal fishing villages also depend on the Harbour’s ecosystem. These mangroves also provide vital protection against storm surges and coastal flooding through buffering of wave action and absorption of excess water. Mangroves can play an important defensive role to the effects of these climate risks but over the last quarter-century, mangrove forests have declined in Jamaica,
Meet The MGI Team
MGI, along with its partners, are excited to begin work on an environmental project which aims to bolster the defence of the vulnerable, low-lying areas of the city of Kingston against the climate risks of flooding, storm surges, and hurricanes through mangrove restoration, rehabilitation, and conservation within the Kingston Harbour. The KHEAM Project has kicked off and MGI is happy to report our progress on mobilising for the ‘Implementation of Eco-System Adaptation Measures for the Kingston Harbour Communities’. MGI team consists of researchers, project coordinators and fieldwork officers from MGI, led by Dr Ava Maxam and Dr Christopher Daly. Dr Maxam is currently Deputy Director of MGI, where she manages the Natural Hazards & Environment Division,
What is KHEAM?
The Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI) has partnered with the GraceKennedy Foundation, the Centre of Marine Sciences (CMS) and Newer Worlds Limited (NW), on an environmental project which aims to bolster the defence of the vulnerable, low-lying areas of the city of Kingston against the climate risks of flooding, storm surges, and hurricanes through mangrove restoration, rehabilitation, and conservation within the Kingston Harbour, Jamaica. The MGI-led project titled the ‘Implementation of Eco-System Adaptation Measures for the Kingston Harbour Communities’, dubbed “KHEAM”, spans across a three (3)-year period and is funded by KFW Development Bank through the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) for a grant of US$990 thousand.
Map of Kingston Harbour, Jamaica(credit: Mona Geoinformatics Institute)
The Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI), in partnership with DE Design + Environment Inc (DE), was awarded January, 2020, by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, to develop and implement the National Environmental Data & Information System (NEIS). Deputy Director at MGI, Dr. Ava Maxam, leads the University of the West Indies’ Mona Campus-based software development team that will develop the NEIS online platform. The Canada-based team from Design + Environment Inc is headed by Mr. David Oswald as the environmental expert on the project.
MGI and DE will work with in-country government representatives of the Department of Environment (DoE) of the Ministry of Health and the Environment, to conceptualize and then implement the NEIS. This online platform will be focused on improving reporting processes to the key United Nations (UN) MEAs (Multilateral Environmental Agreements) for climate change,
Three years ago, the skies over the island nation of Dominica darkened, powerful winds picked up, and waves began crashing onshore with great intensity. Unknown to the people of Dominica, Hurricane Maria was gearing up to make landfall on the southwest coast of the island, a hurricane event that would eventually leave 31 people dead, 37 missing, and destroy more than 90% of the island’s infrastructure. Dominica boasts beautiful mountain vistas and 365 rivers, one for every day of the year, but the same steep terrain and rivers which were the pride of the island nation made it extremely vulnerable to the torrential downpour which bolstered overflowing rivers and caused flash floods. The catastrophic scale of the damage forced a country that has done very little to contribute to global climate change to reckon with its fierce consequences.
The Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI), in partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London and the Create Caribbean Institute, has been awarded a three-year grant from the Economic and Social Research Council’s Global Challenges Research Fund. The Caribbean Cyclone Cartography project will work to map hurricane-related adaptations, survivals and recoveries in Dominica to create resources that will inform future disaster preparedness.
MGI will lead citizen-based geoinformatic surveys that will explore, analyse and document Dominican place-based knowledge of cyclonic hazards, shelters and response agencies across the island. MGI will facilitate the creation of a digital, multi-disciplinary map of Dominica, populated by historic, contemporary, ethnographic and geoinformatic data of place-based cyclone resilience. MGI has worked in Dominica on previous projects, including the,
The Mona Geoinformatics Institute is pleased to be hosting the 2nd European Union INTERREG Caraibe Carib Coast Steering Committee Workshop and Conference October 8th-10th, 2019 in Kingston, Jamaica. A public conference will be held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Wednesday October 9th at 6 pm entitled “CARIB-COAST: a Caribbean Network for the Prevention of Coastal Risks related with Climate Change“. This will be in association with international project partners: IFREMER, ONF, IRD, CAR-SPAW-RAC, CNRS, UWI, IMA, CARICOOS, MONA-GIS and the Association of Caribbean States.
The 3-day agenda overall is slated to cover: updates on the project’s impact across the Caribbean; regional issues and technical applications in shoreline resilience and monitoring; training in state-of-the-art shoreline monitoring technologies; as well as tours of important coastal monitoring sites. Read more
The Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI) paid courtesy calls on various academic departments across Japan in April 2019. Collaboration with MGI’s coastal studies unit – MGIBlue – were main points of discussion with a goal of combining the skills, expertise and research available among the institutions to apply cutting edge science and technology in building solutions for coastal problems.
Key Research Topics for the Region
Dr Ava Maxam, Deputy Director of MGI and head of MGIBlue, met with research departments of Nagoya University (NU) and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), where she presented on the work of MGIBlue and its Coastal Dynamics Modelling Laboratory (CDML) to faculty staff and students. Areas explored for collaboration included: fisheries research and production,
Frontiers of science wordcloud – climate change in the Caribbean
MGIBlue was on show at the UK-UWI Frontiers of Science Meeting held March 19 – 21, 2019 at Chicheley Hall, UK. This will be a 3-year programme for the advancement of science in the Caribbean and the use of science to solve big climate change problems affecting the Region. The programme was crafted through 2 years of consultations between UWI Solutions for Developing Countries (UWI SODECO) and The Royal Society.
Dr Ava Maxam at Chicheley Hall for the UK-UWI Frontiers of Science Meeting on Climate Change held March, 2019
Dr Ava Maxam represented MGI at the inaugural meeting designed to bring together groups of highly talented scientists for cutting-edge research in developmental biology and climate change adaptation.
The Kingston Harbour Waterfront, Jamaica. Photo Credit Mona Geoinformatics Institute.
Jamaica’s vital resource in the Kingston Harbour has been under constant threat from solid waste pollution for decades. Much of this garbage finds its way into the 7th largest natural deep-water harbour in the world through complex gully and river drainage systems crisscrossing Kingston, St Andrew and Portmore. Mona Geoinformatics Institute (MGI) through its MGIBlue Division has embarked on research and assessment of these land and marine areas that are intricately linked as one vast “waste-scape”.
Map of Kingston Harbour, Mona Geoinformatics Institute.
With support from the Grace Kennedy Foundation, work is being carried out to determine the sources, linkages and impacts of solid waste on our natural and man-made resources. Read more