Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 General description of the...
 Forests and forestry
 Back Cover

Group Title: Development and welfare in the West Indies. Bulletin
Title: Report on forestry in the Cayman Islands
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081354/00001
 Material Information
Title: Report on forestry in the Cayman Islands
Series Title: Development and welfare in the West Indies. Bulletin
Alternate Title: Forestry in the Cayman Islands
Physical Description: 31 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Swabey, Christopher
Lewis, C Bernard ( joint author )
Publisher: Advocate Co.,
Advocate Co.
Place of Publication: Bridgetown Barbados
Publication Date: 1946
Copyright Date: 1946
Subject: Forests and forestry -- Cayman Islands   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Cayman Islands
Statement of Responsibility: by Christopher Swabey and C. Bernard Lewis.
General Note: Cover title: Forestry in the Cayman Islands.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081354
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltuf - AAN5299
oclc - 01485963
alephbibnum - 000119410

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Table of Contents
        Page 4
    General description of the islands
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Forests and forestry
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Back Cover
        Page 32
        Page 33
Full Text




Conservator of Forests, Jamaica
Curator of the Museum, Institute of Jamaica.

Development and Welfare in
the West Indies


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Advocate Co., Ltd.-Printers and Bookbinders.




Conservator of Forests, Jamaica
Curator of the Museum, Institute of Jamaica.

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This Report has been prepared as the liesult of a visit to Grand
Cayman in December, 1945.

It is regretted that circumstances did not permit us to visit
Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, but one of us (C. Bernard Lewis)
had previously visited those islands.

We wish to thank the Acting Commissioner and other persons
for placing all available data at our disposal.


The visit of Mr. Swabey and Mr. Lewis, as a result of which
this report has been prepared, was made with funds provided under
Colonial Development and Welfare Scheme D.201. The report is
reproduced for general information and as a companion report to
those on Forestry in the Leeward and Windward Islands which have
already been published as Development and Welfare Bulletin,; 7,
7A, 7Bi and 11.

Development and Welfare in the West Indies.
Office of the Cdmptroller,
Barbados, B.W.I.

September, 1946.


1. Situation .... ....
2. Area .... .... ....
3. Population
4. Topography, Geology & Soils
5. Climate .... .... ....
6. Water Supplies .... ....
7. Housing ....
8. Communications .... ....
9. History .... ....
10. Government ....
11. Agriculture
12. Occupations & Industries ....
13. Land Tenure & Taxation ....



1. Vegetation Types.... ....
2. Forests Utilisation ...
(a) General .... ....
(b) Boat-building ....
(c) House Construction ....
(d) Furniture ....
(e) Miscellaneous
(f) Thatch ....
(g) Imports & Exports.... ....
3. Forest Legislation ....

1. General Forest Policy ...
2. Implementation of the Forest Policy
(a) Surveys .... ....
(b) Forest Reserves .... ....
(c) Mahogany ....
(d) Thatch .... ... .
(e) Boat-building ....
(f) Roads .... .
(g) Legislation ....
(h) Staff
(i) Silvicultural Operations ....
(j) Finance .... ....

APPENDIX A: Forest Law ....
B: Forest Regulations ....
C: Thatch (straw) Rope & Line Exports ....



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1. Situation
The Cayman Islands-a Dependency of Jamaica-consist of three
small islands-Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
They lie in the Caribbean Sea between 19315' and 19045' N and
79044' and 81027' W. The islands are projecting peaks of the Cay-
man Ridge a range of submarine mountains, continuous with the
Sierra Maestra Range of Cuba and running west to the Misteriosa
Bank in the direction of British Honduras. The submarine slopes
around the islands are steep: Bartlett Deep attains a depth of 20,000
feet only 18 miles south of Grand Cayman.
Grand Cayman, the largest of the islands, is situated about
180 miles west-north-west of Jamaica and 150 miles south of
the Isle of Pines (Cuba). This island is about 22 miles
long (east to west) with a maximum breadth of about 8 miles.
It is very irregular in outline and existing maps of this island, as
well as the others of the group, are Very approximate and inac-
curate in detail. The Great Sound-six miles in length and about
the same distance across-breaks into the north coast; as a result, the
western part of the island is a narrow strip about a mile wide.
Little Cayman lies 60 miles east-north-east of Grand Cayman,
and Cayman Brac lies about 5 miles to the east of Little Cayman.
Each is about 12 miles long (east to west) and has a width of from
a mile to two miles. Cayman Brac is said to be slightly the larger
of the two islands.
2. Area
No land survey has ever 'been made and estimates of the area
of the islands vary very considerably. Officially recognized estim-
ates (Census, 1943) are as follows:-
Square Miles Acres
Grand Cayman .... 70.72 45,261
Cayman Brae .... 12.85 8,224
Little Cayman .... 9.24 5,914

Total .... 92.81 59,399

In view of the extensive, unmapped lagoons and ponds these
figures, especially those for Grand Cayman, are probably too high.

3. Population
The population of the islands is as follows:-.
(Census of January, 1943)
M. F. Total
Grand Cayman .... .... 2,322 2,989 5,311
Cayman Brae .... .... 604 692 1,296
Little Cayman .... .... 29 34 63

2,955 3,715 6,670

Of the total about 30% are white, 15% black and the rest are
coloured. At the time when the census was taken it said that about
1,000 men, residents of the islands, were serving in Allied merchant
navies and armed forces.

4. Topography, Geology and Soils
All three islands are low-lying and of similar geological structure.
The highest point of Grand Cayman is said to be about 60', but the
greater part of the island is under 15' in -elevation and large por-
tions of the interior are penetrated and occupied by lagoons and
mangrove swamps.
Little Cayman is topographically similar to Grand Cayman.
The Median plateau of Cayman Brac rises to about 140 feet in the
east, where a sheer cliff drops into the sea, gradually sloping to sea
level in the west.
The geology of the Cayman Islands has been reported upon by
Matley (1926 Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc., London. Vol. LXXXII.
pp. 352-87).
The islands are formed entirely of calcareous rocks of two form-
ations. The Bluff Limestone (Miocene Oligocene) forms the central
and more elevated parts of each island. It is white, massive, and
usually semicrystalline, closely resembling the "'White Limestone"
of Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti,.
The Ironshore formation occupies a peripheral position as a
low coastal terrace of not over 12-15 feet above the sea. This form-
ation consists of consolidated, cream-coloured sand and marl with
abundant coral-heads. The hard surface is little more than a crust
below which is a softer marl used extensively in the islands for
The shores of the islands are covered in many places by modern
shore deposits of coral sand and shingle, thrown up by hurricanes.
Hurricane beaches of coral cobble are particularly well developed,
and are striking features of both the north and south coasts of
Cayman Brae and along the south-east coast of Grand Cayman.
Coral reefs surround Grand. Cayman except in the west; Little
Cayman is reef bound except in the Northwest, while Cayman Brac
is free of reefs except in the south-west.
Tlhe Bluff Limestonit is essentially of a "honeycomb" or karstt"
structure and it is often very difficult to traverse. The jagged pin-
nacles of rock are interspersed with pockets of fertile red or brown
earth-residue from the weathering of the limestone. Tile edges of
the bluff formation, for an average distance of about a quarter of
a mile, consist of exposed karst and difficult to traverse. Further
toward the interior, however, there are zones of "mould"-as the
red-brown residue from weathering is called. These areas are large-
ly cleared for cultivations and pastures. Ridges of karst, usually
running parallel with the long axis of the island, occur at intervals
throughout the interior. Likewise, similar patches of soil occur on
the Ironshore formation. The surface of the Ironshore areas, except

on the foreshore, is rocky, but not honey-combed and, unlike the
Bluff Limestone, is easily traversed. The soil, however, is thinner,
oaid somewhat less productive.
Phosphatic deposits occur on all three islands, probably having
been formed by the chemical action of the guano of sea-birds on
the calcareous rocks. About 50 years ago an attempt was made to
work the deposits commercially. The phosphates, especially at Cay-
man Brae, are reported to be of high quality.

The inner slopes of the sandy coastal beaches are cleared by
cutting and burning, and crops of maize and sorghum, and also
sweet potatoes, are grown successfully. The soil here seems to be
largely coral sand, with a very little humus and ash left from the
burning over of the land.

5. Climate
Although a weather station is maintained in Georgetown, by the
Cuban Government, no records appear to be available at the station.
All data is radioed daily to Havana. The station has been in opera-
tion since 1935, although for some years daily records were taken
only during hurricane months.
During the war a weather station was maintained independ-
ently in Georgetown by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. It
is still in operation.
It is said that the annual rainfall lies between 65 and 70 inches
with a pronounced dry season from November to April: periods of
drought are frequent.
Prevailing winds are from east to south during the months of
May to October, while from November to April they are from the
north-east to north-west. The hurricane season lasts from August to
November, and hurricanes periodically cause widespread damage in
the islands. The effects of the hurricane of October, 1944, are still
very apparent on Grand Cayman.

6. Water Supplies
The porosity of the limestone and the negligible elevation of
the laud preclude the formation of streams, which are non-existent
in the islands. Interior ponds are brackish to salt; wells, natural
and artificial, filled by seepage from the sea, are brackish to fresh
in varying degree. In the early days, nearly all the domestic water
was obtained from wells, but in recent years, cisterns, fed' by roof-
catchments, have become general.
Stock is watered largely in the pastures by "cow wells"-gen-
erally natural sink holes, supplied with water by seepage,, which
have been enlarged or otherwise made approachable for the animals.
The water is usually somewhat brackish. On Cayman Brae, stock,
grazed in the excellent pastures on the bluff, are provided with special
tanks and cisterns; the poorer people have to drive their animals,
every few days, down to the coastal shelf for watering.

7. Housing
The standard of housing is amongst the highest in the West
Indies and buildings are maintained in excellent condition. Nearly
every house is owned by the family resident therein.
In Georgetown, West Bay, and elsewhere, many houses are of a
boarded bungalow type, showing strong American architectural in-
fluence. Imported lumber is used almost exclusively in these houses
except for pillar trees, which are often of local hardwoods. They
are roofed either with imported shingles or with galvanized iron
In the districts of North Side and East End, the houses are
typically framed in local hardwoods, and walled with lime mortar
(in recent years with a little cement) with or without wattle. The
uses of the local woods in house building is considered in some detail
under the section of Forest Utilisation. Rafters and flooring are
always of imported pine.
Roofs thatched ,with the leaves of Thrinax argentea are rapidly
disappearing, except on out-buildings. The plaiting of these roofs,
and of the walls of plantation storehouses and overnight huts in the
bush, is a work of art.
The communal feeling, which, it is said, was once very strong
in the Dependency, still exists to the extent that persons of the poorer
classes can obtain labour for thatching, or even erecting a house,
at greatly reduced rates.
Good Sanitation is not always easy to attain. Until recently,
surface latrines were prevalent. Now pit latrines are general, with
only the more modern houses provided with indoor closets. Owing to
the low level of the land, pit latrines are often flooded, during heavy
rains and high seas.

8. Communications
Regular communication with Jamaica is maintained fortnightly
by motor schooner: the vessel calls at Cayman Brae and Little Cay-
man, to and from Grand Cayman, with cargo, mails and passengers.
During very recent months, a steamship running between Jamaica
and Tampa, Florida, has been calling both ways at Grand Cayman
with passengers and mails. Irregular communication is maintained
by schooner with many Central American and Gulf ports, and with
A Wireless Station, communicating with Jamaica, was established
at Georgetown in 1935. A sub-station, communicating with George-
town, is maintained at Stake Bay, Cayman Brac. A Government
telephone service is in operation between West Bay, Georgetown
and Bodden town; the lines used to continue to North Side and
East End, but were blown down during the hurricane of 1944 and
have not been replaced. There is also a telephone service between
the principal settlements on Cayman Brae.

On Grand Cayman there are about 50 miles of motoring roads,
more than half of which have been constructed during the last decade.
The roads, for the most part, follow the west .and south coasts. At
Frank Sound there is a road across the island to Old Man Bay on
the north coast, joining with a few miles of coastal driving road
through the town of North Side. Many tracks lead into the interior
where pastures and cultivations are maintained and where wood cut-
ters seek timber. There is still much inter-communication by sea in
small boats, especially along parts of the north, north-east and east
There is a well-kept driving road, about 10 miles in length, along
the northern coastal shelf of Cayman Brae-there is no motoring
road on Little Cayman and coastal communication, as well as com-
munication with Cayman Brae, is by means of small boats.

9. History
The islands of Cayman Brae and Little Cayman were discovered
by Columbus in 1503 and named Tortugas because of the turtle
abounding both on the shores and in the seas around them. From
the time of their discovery to the present day, turtle have played a
dominant role in the history and economics of the islands. The
French and the Spanish both made frequent trips to the Caymans
for turtle; but it appears that at the time when the British captured
Jamaica from the Spaniards in 1655, the Caymans had never been
claimed for any crown. British troops at the time of the occupation
looked to the Caymans for supplies of fresh meat. Vessels sailing
to England from Jamaica, via the Windward Passage, regularly
called at the Caymans for a supply of turtle for the voyage home.
Pirates frequented the islands, probably, in the first instance,
to obtain food. Later they retreated to the Caymans for refuge,
food and water, and to repair and clean their vessels. The names
of many famous buccaneers are associated with the islands. The
first land patents were issued around 1730, and since that time Grand
Cayman has been permanently occupied. Many shipwrecks along
the coasts have added to the population of the islands and many
family names can be traced to a mariner who settled where he came
ashore from a wrecked vessel.
It is interesting that, at first, the attention shown to the islands
was largely centred on Little Cayman and Cayman Brae, where most
of the turtle fishing was carried on. Pirates had semi-permanert
settlements on Little Cayman. Legitimate settlement, however, was
confined to Grand Cayman until about a century ago when families
from that island transferred to Cayman Brae.
It is obvious, from the situation and small size of the islands,
that Cayman Islanders have always been sea-faring people. Their
major industry for centuries has been turtle fishing and they con-
structed their own boats for catching and transporting them. When
Cayman waters had been more or less fished out (prior to 1800),
they sought turtle in Cuban waters and then, about a hundred years

ago, they turned toward the Central American coasts of Honduras
and Nicaragua where Caymanian turtiers have caught most of their
turtle ever since.
10. Government
The Dependency is administered by a Commissioner (appointed
by the Secretary of State) who is responsible to the Governor of
Local legislation is effected by a Vestry consisting of Justices
of the Peace (appointed by the Commissioner and now numbering
27) plus 28 elected Vestrymen.

11. Agriculture
The Cayman Islanders, being seafaring people, have largely
confined their agricultural pursuits to the cultivation, for family use,
of yams, sweet potatoes, cassava, and similar provisions. These crops
are planted in the pot holes in the limestone and are grown with
great success in return for very little effort or care-the limited soil
being relatively productive. Water-melons and Ipumpkins grow
Well, especially on Cayman Brae and on the eastern end of Grand
Cayman. Cultivation is maintained by the men alone and, quite
contrary to the usual practice in the West Indies, the women take
no interest in and share no part of the agricultural labour. This
applies even to the Negro population.
In the early days, every family had its own cane-piedes and its
sugar mill, consisting of hand made rollers, usually of mahogany.
In recent years, however, since sugar has been easily obtained either
from Cuba or Jamaica, cane-pieces have virtually disappeared. In
the early part of the 19th century, cotton was grown extensively on
Grand Cayman and exported to Jamaica.
In very recent years, a few families in the vicinity of Georgetown
and West Bay, on Grand Cayman, and on Cayman Brae have been
successfully growing tomatoes, cabbages, beets, carrots, shallots, etc.,
but these vegetables have not found their way into the diet of the
general population. Shallots have been produced most successfully
on Cayman Brac, and have been exported in small quantities to
Jamaica. Pineapples are grown on Cayman Brae but are conspicu-
ously absent on Grand Cayman.
A Sorghum, known as "Cayman Wheat", is cultivated exten-
sively on the inner slopes of the sandy beaches. Likewise corn
(maize) is grown in similar situations. The Sorghum does extremely
well and is used, not only for poultry feed, but for the preparation
of porridge. Bananas and plantains, particularly a variety locally
known as "Bottlers", are widely grown in cultivations and around
The islands are well fruited, all sorts of tropical varieties doing
well, including citrus, star-apple, naseberry, avacado and mangoes
(some of the better varieties are only just 'being introduced). Fruit
trees are seldom properly planted or cared for, yet they yield well.

Breadfruit and papaw grow abundantly and the latter attains an
excellence on the lesser islands rarely equalled elsewhere.
In some areas, where the soil is almost pure coral sand, planta-
tion grounds are prepared by collecting brush and bits of coral rock
from the shore and burning these, the resulting ash being worked
into the sand. Such a ground will be planted with Sorghum, maize,
and sweet potatoes. Cocoanuts have always been an important crop
on the coastal sands, but bud rot disease periodically takes a heavy;
toll, little effort being made to control it.
A consideration of the agricultural problems, pests and diseases
was prepared by Mr. W. H. Edwards, D.I.C., F.R.E.S., in 1937
(Dept. of Science & Agri., Jamaica, Bull. No. 13. New Series)..
Most of the people own their own plots of land which they culti-
vate. Some land, however, is worked for others on the basis of the
owner receiving one-third share. All cultivation is done by hand
(usually with a cutlass), although it would appear that there are
areas, inland behind North Side and in the central part of the island
behind East End, as well as several coastal areas, devoted to corn
and sorghum, which could actually be worked with the plough.
The unfortunate introduction, some 50 or more years ago, of a Red
Agouti from some part of Central America has made certain inland
areas virtually useless for cultivation. At the present time, the
Government pays a bounty of 9d. per head to encourage the destruc-
tion of Agouti, locally called "rabbit".
From the earliest days, pigs, cattle and horses have been main-
tained on the islands. Herds of pigs have disappeared but cattle
have increased. There are now nearly 2,000 cattle on the islands.
Pastures of guinea grass (Panicum" maxiim m Jacq.) flourish but
are badly affected by droughts. Cattle are pastured at a rate of
5/- per month. The usual practice is to clear a piece of land to
be used for a provision ground for a year or so, and then allow grass
to grow for pasture Some sections of land are said to have been
cultivated as provision grounds for 20 or 30 years without a rest.
Pasture lands are periodically allowed to revert to bush. It is diffi-
cult to estimate the length of time they are used, as variable factors
are involved, such as the reduction of a man's stock, or difficulties
in having the pasture cleaned of the secondary growth, particularly
Maiden Plum (Commocladia dentata Jacq.)

12. Occupations and Industries
(a) Seafaring
Following the sea is undoubtedly the most important occupation,
:'nd a relatively large number of Islanders attain important positions
as master mariners and engineers. The limited educational facilities
on the Islands have however formed a great handicap to advance-

(b) Turtle Fishing
This important industry, around which the history of
the islands has largely centred, does not involve as many men

to-day as in the past. Green turtle are fished by schooners and
men from Grand Cay pan, while Hawksbill are sought by turtlers
from Cayman Brae. The vessels operating from Grand Cayman are
generally owned by persons in Georgetown or West Bay; the captains,
likewise, come from the western part of the island, while the crews
and turtle fishermen usually come from East End.
(c) Shark Fishing
Shark fishing is sometimes engaged in by turtle schooners during
off-season. The industry has not been developed and only the hides
have been saved.
(d) Scale Fishing
Most of the fishing for food fish is done in small boats, and
largely by the people of East End and North Side. This industry,
too, has not been developed, and the number of fish caught barely
supplies the demand in those areas
(e) Thatch Rope
The making of thatch rope from the unopened leaves of the
thatch palm is a very important cottage industry. It is carried on
largely by the women and children of the poorer districts.
(f) Boat Building
Schooners up to 200 tons and over have been built in the islands
for generations. The vessels are noted for their sea-worthiness, and
many Caymanians are employed in boat construction in Panama and
in the southern states of the United States of America.
13. Land Tenure and Taxation
(a) Private Lands
About 1730. a large portion of the island was patented by the
Crown to settlers who took up residence with their slaves and a
specified number of white servants. In the course of the years a
large amount of the land was either unused or abandoned. Subse-
quently, a man would clear a piece of unused land and cultivate it
for a few years until it declined in productivity-then he would
move on and clear another piece. These lands, temporarily occupied,
were generally accepted as belonging to the cultivator and would be
re-used from time to time. Since available land was adequate there
were few disputes. To-day, especially in towns where land is more
valuable, boundary disputes are not infrequent. Probably all of
the cultivatable land is now claimed by some party or other, though
it is very doubtful whether many persons could legally prove owner-
ship of their holdings. Mangroves and buttonwood swamps are
usually considered "free land" but, if a question of ownership arises,
it is considered that half the swamp belongs to the land adjacent to
it on one side, and half to the land on the other. If dry land is
adjacent on one side only, the swamp goes with that land.
(b) "Free Lands"
Some lands, considered of no value for purposes of cultivation,
are claimed by no one. These lands include areas of karst which are

heavily wooded and, at one time, supported excellent timber, Anyone
may cut wood on these "free lands. "Cedar Cliff" behind North
Side is an example of a "free land" which has been open to all for
(c) Government Lands
The Government owns certain lands, having acquired them hb
purchase from private holders. These lands largely include the sites
of public buildings and proposed sites for schools and other develop-
(d) Taxation
There is no land taxation.


1. Vegetation Types
The vegetation of the Cayman Islands, as might be expected, is
largely composed of plants that can exist under strong, maritime
influence. There is very little virgin forest, to be found anywhere
in the islands; the only exceptions being in the depths of the button-
wood swamps where there are inaccessible "islands" of timber which
have escaped the woodcutters.
Although the rainfall is comparatively low and seasonal, with
prolonged droughts occurring frequently, the seepage front the sea
seems to provide sufficient moisture in the interior of Grand Cayman
to modify somewhat the normally xerophytic types of vegetation
which might be expected. On Cayman Brae, for example, where
the bluff rises far above any Seepage influence, cacti are abundant,
whereas on Grand Cayman, in situations which would normally sup-
port cacti, they are absent except for climbing species. The present
forest canopy generally varies between 15 and 30 feet, the forest
near the coast being lower and obviously markedly stunted by the
prevailing winds. Owing to the continual present day "topping"
of Thrinax argentea Sarg for rope making, the palms have little
chance of reaching full height, but forest examples of great age have
graceful, slim stems, of 40 or more feet, rising above the forest canopy.
These tall palms are largely responsible for the scattering of seed
throughout the forest and for the resulting young palms which occur
throughout the island, except in swamps. The most remarkable
feature of the vegetation of Grand and Little Cayman is the Button-
wood-Mahogany association. Vegetational associations of Grand
Cayman may be divided as follows (the other islands differ very
slightly in detail):
(a) Forest on Bluff Limestone
Although this forest has been selectively cut over for generations,
it seems unlikely that the composition of the forest has changed to
any great extent, except for the possible increase in the relative
abundance of birch (Bursera simaruba (L.) Sarg.)-a species which
is never cut. Originally this forest must have covered the Limestone
areas throughout the island, including areas of Ironshore, limestone,
but, except where the soil in the pockets of the honeycomb limestone
has been too sparse to allow for cultivation or pasture, the forests
have been thoroughly cut over at some time or other. The low, flat,
central part of the island is featured bVy scattered groups of a Royal
Palm (Boystonea sp.) which tower above the-low forest canopy. An
interesting feature of the forests of the lesser islands is that Cayman
Brae has no mahogany but plenty of cedar, while Little Cayman has
no cedar but an abundance of mahogany. The cedar obviously needs
the well drained land provided by Cayman Brac. Logwood does
not occur on the lesser islands.

A partial list of some of the more important and predominant
trees to be found in the limestone forest are as follows:-

Balsam ..* *.* :a
na3tard Mahogany or Bastard Cedar
Birch .. .
Black Candlewood ..
Black Ironwood
Cabbage Tree
Fustic ..
Guinep .. .
Headache Bush
Jasmine .. .
Lance Wood .. ..
Little-Leaf Ironwood
Mahogany .. .. .. ..
Manchineel ..
Mat-boat Tree or Royal Palm
Nut Tree or Wild Calabash
Fepper Cinnamon
Pompero .. .
Shake Hand ..
Smoke Wood
Sweet Wood ..
Thatch Palm ..
White Fiddlewood .
White Wood ..
Wild Fig .
Wild Plum ..

Yellow Ironwood
Yellow Mastic

,CGusia flava Jacq.
( Unidentified).
Pursera simaruba (L.) Sarg.
ajrithalis frutiosa L.
fisonia discolor Spreng.
Amyris elemifera L.
Cedrela odorata L.
? Cordia nitida V.
P,etitia domingensis Jacq.
Chlorophora tinctoria (L.) Gaudich.
Melicocca bijuga L.
Capparis cynophallophora L.
Plumieria sp.
Randia aculeata L.
Gymnanthes luoida Sw.
Swietenia mahagoni (L.) Jacq.
Hippomane Manchinella L.
Roystonea sp.
Crescentia oujete L.
Canella winterana (L.)
Hypelate trifoliata Sw.
Zanthoxylum sp.
Erythroxylon aereolatum L.
Calyptranthes pallens (Poir.) Griseb.
Ocotea sp.
Thrinax argentea Sarg.
Citherexylum fruiticosum L.
Tabebuia leucoxylon Mart.
Ficus populnea Willd.
Picrodendron baccatwm (L.) Krug. &
Sideroxylon sp.

(b) Buttonwood Swamps '

Buttonwood swamps occur over a large part of the island of
Grand Cayman and also on Little Cayman. They overlie those por-
tions of the Bluff Limestone formation, particularly in the centre
of the islands, which are virtually at sea level. Where buttonwood
swamps occur over the Ironshore formation the vegetational associa-
tions are similar, except on Cayman Brae where Mahogany is absent.
Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus L.) is the dominant tree: next the
most abundant is Mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni (L) Jacq.) with
occasional Manchineel (Hippomane manchinella Ii), White Wood
(Tabebuia, leucoxylon Mart.), and Wild Plum (Piorodendron bacca-
tumr (L.) Krug. & Urb.). These trees frequently occur on "islands"
amongst the Buttonwood: that is, places where the land may rise no
more than onre to two feet above the surrounding! swamp. In such
isolated spots one may find mahogany trees 3 to 4 ft. in diameter and
the other species of trees of proportionate size. Owing to the low
elevation of the land, the lack of glades and the consequent low
canopy of the forest in general, the boles of the mahoganies are al-
ways short-rarely more than 10 to 12 feet in height.

(c) Grass and Reed Swamps.
A large grass swamp lies inland from East End, about half-way
across the island to Little Bluff on the North Coast. It overlies the
Bluff Formation and is surrounded by .Buttonwood associations.
Reeds, (Typha angustifolia L.,) occur in patches, mostly on the
Ironshore Formation, usually associated with pastures in the south-
western part of the island: there are no extensive reed swamps.
(d) Mangroves.
Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle L.) and White Mangrove
(Laguncularia racemosa Gaertn.) line the shores of the Great Sound
and lagoons and ponds wherever they may occur. Associated with
the mangroves is the herbaceous Batis maritima L. Behind the sandy
beach between Georgetown and West Bay, the 'Black Mangrove is
fairly common along with the other mangroves and Buttonwood;
presumably it takes a minor place among the mangroves in other
parts of thie island. The White Mangrove is the most abundant of
the mangroves (excluding Buttonwood). Near the Georgetown Bar-
cadere, Great Sound, Laguncularia seedlings were observed encroach-
ing, on a large scale, over the pastures adjacent to the fringing
(e) Coastal and Beach Vegetation.
sThe coastal and beach vegetation is typical for the West Indies
Amongst the trees we find Seaside Mahoe, locally known as "Pop-
nut" (Thespesia populnea (L.) Soland.), Broad Leaf (Cordia cay-
manensis Urb.), Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera (L.) Sarg.), and the
introduced Casuarina equisetifolia Forst., and Almond (Terminalia
catappa L.). Amongst the shrubs, the Coco-plum (Chrysobalanus
icaco L.), occurs abundantly on the inner side of the beach between
West Bay and Georgetown and elsewhere. Juniper (Suriana mari-
tima L.), Sea Lavender (Tournefortia gnaphalodes (L.) B.Br.), are
other typical shrubs at the tops of sandy beaches. Rachicallis ameri-
cana (Jacq.) Kuntze. occurs almost exclusively behind the rocky fore-
shore extending from Georgetown southward. It is typical of rocky
Beach grasses are generally known locally as "No-Man-Conquor"
-one of the most common is Sporobilus virginicus (L.) Kunth. Sev-
eral species of Cypelrus especially C. brunneus Sw. and C. polystchyos
Rottb. are typical and widespread on the inner beach slopes. Ipomoea
spp., Sesuvium portulacastrum L. Portulaca oleracea L. and Euphor-
bia buxifolia Lam. are abundant herbaceous representatives.
Behind and among the Sea Grape there are often thickets of
Cockspur (Caesalpinia Bonduc (L.) Roxb. and C. caymanensis
Millsp.). Sisal (Agave sp.) grows well along the inner slopes of the
beaches and elsewhere on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brae.

(f) Secondary Vegetation.
There are very few species of plants in the Cayman Islands that
can be considered typical of second growth. The most apparent and
the most important element in the secondary vegetation is the Maiden
Plum, Comocladia dentata Jacq., a vicious pest, springing up where-

ever the forest has been cleared for pasture or cultivation. The
periodic burning of pastures, with the accompanying destruction of
valuable hardwood trees (especially seedlings) is largely caused by
the encroachment of this species.
Maiden Plum requires a maximum amount of light and takes
no place in the forest. Once other forest species get a start the
Maiden Plum appears to be eliminated quickly.
Next to the Maiden Plum, Mahogany seedlings seem to be one
of the most abundant elements of the second growth in many areas-
wherever parent plants are available for scattering seeds. Another
common species in the eastern and northern parts is Strawberry,
Calyptranthes pallens (Poir.) Griseb. Over the Ironshore Forma-
tion of the Georgetown-Red Bay area Logwood Haematozylon cam-
pechianum L. thickets have developed. Birch is a very noticeable
element in the landscape of cleared areas; it will be seen, however,
that most of these trees were originally fence posts. Noticeably
absent amongst the second growth is the Trumpet (Cecropia peltata
L.) which is not found anywhere in the islands. Tecoma stans Juss.,
locally known as "Shamrock", is a common second growth species
in the vicinity of Georgetown and elsewhere.
Thatch Palms (Thrinax argentea Sarg.) must be mentioned under
secondary vegetation, as, in cleared pasture lands, they sometimes
come in as exclusive growth. They grow readily from seed but the
young trees are easily damaged and destroyed by cattle. Several
property owners in the West Bay area have preserved areas of Thatch
Palm by prohibiting pasturage of animals amongst the trees. Thick
stands covering many acres, about shoulder high, have been main-
The abundant lands in the interior of the eastern end of the
island, which have probably not been utilised, except as pastures.
since the abolition of slavery, show mango trees, naseberries and other
fruit trees mixed with the native mahogany, machineel, etc., in
rapidly regenerating forests.
Guinea grass (Panicum -maximum Jacq.) rapidly and spon-
taneously colonizes any interior land which is burnt over. This fact
encourages burning as a method of preparing pastures. A few years
ago (since 1938), however, Seymour grass (A ndropogon metusus L.)
made its appearance, and has occupied large areas of pastureland,
particularly between Georgetown and the Great Sound and in the
centre of the island, along the road between Frank Sound and Old
Man Bay.
2. Forest Utilisation
(a) General.
The main requirements for timber in Grand Cayman are for
boat-building, house construction, firewood and to a lesser extent
for furniture and fence posts. There are no saw-mills (one owned
and operated in Georgetown was sold and shipped to the Isle of
Pines early in 1945); and even pit-saws are unknown; most timbers
are rough hewn in the forest; though for all sawn stock, timber is

ripped by ordinary carpenter's saws, generally up to 30"). When
timber is required from land other than the owner's, a royalty is
paid to the owner equivalent to one-third or a quarter of the market
value of the timber. There is great wastage, particularly in the
use of mahogany-a tree often being cut for a few natural bends
and the rest of the tree abandoned.
Minor forest produce is represented by Mangrove Bark, the
unopened leaves of the Thatch Palm used for making rope and plaited
articles, and the opened thatch leaves used for thatching huts and
(b) Boat Buildin.
For many generations the Cayman Islanders have been expert
boat-builders and this industry is still maintained. Only the fram-
ing of the vessels is carried out with local materials; imported timber
is used for planking, decking, masts, etc. Owing to difficulties of
importation during the war there has been a decline in boat con-
During the five year period 1935-39 a total of 10 vessels were
built, with a tonnage of 745 tons; during the five year period of
1940-44 only two vessels were built, one of 330 tons and one of
13 tons. During this decade, 7 sailing vessels ranging in size from
44 to 201 tons, and 5 motor vessels, ranging from 2 to 330 tons, were
During the war two mine sweepers (120 ft.) and several whale
boats were built for the Admiralty. These vessels were framed and
trimmed with hardwoods, both local and imported from the Isle of
Pines, Cuba.
The following local woods are used in the timbering of larger
vessels such as schooners and yachts:-

Stem and Stern Posts. Mahogany;
Ribs, Knees, etc. Mahogany, Pompero, Fiddlewood, Mastic, Wild
Plum, Fustic, etc. Of these Mahogany and Pompero are
considered the best;
Keels, Planking, Decking, Ceilings and Beams. Yellow Pine
from the southern states of the United States of America
or Nicaragua;
Masts, Spars and Booms are made of Oregon Pilie or Douglas
As a rough guide it is estimated that 7,000' (B.M.) of local tim-
ber is used in framing a 50-ton vessel and 12,000' for a 100-ton vessel.
Prices paid, delivered at roadside, range from five pence per bd. ft.
up to two shillings per bd. ft., for special, large sizes (e g. 10' x 12"
x 14") for stern posts.
Cayman Island timbers are particularly suitable for boat con-
struction, in that the trees are generally short-boled, branchy ant;
crooked: this provides a large proportion of "natural bends", for
ribs and knees, thus making for great strength in relation to weight.

In addition to schooners and motor vessels, a considerable num-
ber of "cat-boats" are also constructed: these are small sailing boats
up to 20' long, which ate used for coastal communications and fish-
ing. They are also carried on schooners for the purpose of turtling off
the Mosquito Coast. Somewhat lighter woods are used in the framing
of cat-boats: White Wood, Tabebuia lencoxylon; Jasmine, Plumieria
sp; and Popnut Mahoe. Cedar, Cedrela oderata, and Mahogany are
(c) House Construction
The main methods of house construction have been mentioned in
Part I. The principal timbers used for sills and uprights in the
better types of housing are Mahogany and Ironwood (several species) :
others are Bitter Plum, Jasmine, Bastard Mahogany and Smokewood.
An interesting example of the seafaring influence on house building
is the use of natural L-shaped wooden knees instead of diagonal
braces at corner posts in framed and plastered houses, also the cross-
trees on flag poles.
In relatively few houses is interior trim made from native
Mahogany: in most houses imported wood is used. Anti-termite
precautions are not normally used and the drywood termite (Cryp-
totermes brevis) infests much of the lower-quality imported timber.
(d) Furniture
The bulk of the furniture in use in the islands is imported, mass-
produced articles from the U.S.A. (Cheap oakl furniture is particu-
larly suseAptible to attack by the drywood termite.) Native Mahog-
any and (to a lesser extent) Manchineel are sometimes used for tables
and other furniture. Locally cut Almond has also been used, and
recently British Honduras Mahogany has been imported on a small
scale for general use. In general, however, the use of local materials
in furniture making has been but little explored.
(e) Miscellaneous
There are ample supplies of firewood in the islands for domestic
purposes and considerable supplies would be available for export if
production could be secured at competitive prices. Local prices,
however, are abnormally high due to prevailing war prosperity and
the difficulty in getting wood cut. A price of 30/- per cord (6' x 4'
x 8') is usually asked at roadside, while prices in Georgetown may
go up to 60/- per cord. It should be noted that the cord in use
is 50% larger than the standard cord. Owing to the high price
of firewood in Georgetown, people on Little Cayman have been
delivering wood to schooners, for transfer to Grand Cayman, at a
rate of 30/- to 35/- per cord.

The principal fuel woods are Buttonwood, Mangrove, Logwood
and Sea Grape. Boat paddles are made from White Wood, Bas-
tard Mahogany or Jasmine. Coffins, and all other purposes requiring
sawn lumber, are made of imported lumber, usually pine. Telephone
poles are of native roundwood, mainly Ironwood. "Live" posts of
Maiden Plum and Birch are extensively used. In the interior any
convenient hardwood may be used for posts and gates.

(f) Thatch
The manufacture of rope from the leaves of the Thatch Palm
is, as has been already stated, a cottage industry of considerable
importance. This industry is carried on in all parts of Grand Cay-
man, but particularly in the eastern and northern districts; it is
also an important industry on Cayman Brac. There is a steady
market for thatch rope in Jamaica and a small local demand. In
Jamaica, before the recent war, fishermen were the sole users of
this rope, which is said to be especially durable in the water. At.
that time the supply and demand were more or less balanced. Dur-
ing the war, however, rope shortages in Jamaica caused a demand
for thatch rope which much exceeded the supply. The rope was
put to many new uses; and an attempt was made to find new sources
from which it could be obtained. Locally, in the Cayman Islands
themselves, thatch rope is used for every sort of purpose which
would require rope, such as Hammock nettles, the stringing of bed
frames (in place of a spring), the tethering of animals, and the
rigging of small vessels. Thatch rope is used for tying down roofs
and, in fact, houses themselves during hurricane season: lines are
passed over the house top and securely fastened to pillar trees or
other firm objects.
The Thatch Palm occurs throughout the islands on well-drained
areas and, provided seed trees are left, will rapidly colonise aban-
doned pastures and cultivations. At West Bay a few property
owners have encouraged the growth of the palm, and several
"Thatch Walks" can be observed. Normally, leaves are collected
from the bush: "tops" collected from trees growing near the sea
are reputed to produce the best rope, and trees growing in the
open (e.g., in pastures) make better rope than shaded trees in the
Rope-making is carried out almost entirely by women and chil-
dren, as a part-time occupation, and is generally an indication of a
family of low income. In times of prosperity, the manufacture of
rope tends to decline-as happened during the recent war when
nearly every family had one or more members serving in merchant
navies, and drawing high wages and war bonuses.
Normally, only the unexpanded heart-leaves (or "tops") of the
palm are used in rope-making; it is said that the expanded leaves
make equally good rope but are more difficult to handle and are
harder on the workers' hands.
The "tops" are cut the day before rope-making begins and are
taken either from "free lands" or from private lands, the owners
of which make no charge for them. Undoubtedly abuses to the
trees take place from time to time, and especially during periods of
drought when "tops" are hard to find and the collectors must go
deep into the bush for them. The most frequent abuse, and the
most serious is the splitting of the trunk, with a down stroke of the
cutlass, to remove a young leaf which has not become extruded.
Sometimes, tall palms are chopped down for a "top" by top-gatherers
who need a "few more" before returning home.

The leaves are allowed to dry in the sun for a day, by which
time they have quailed and faded to a greenish-straw colour but
are still pliable. The leaf sections are then cut from the leaf base
and are twisted by hand into strands about 26-28 fathoms long
Three strands go to make a standard rope. The strands are then
twisted together on a primitive hand-operated turning device to make
a rope of a reputed 25 fathoms in length. A smaller rope, known
as "Head Rope", is made fbr local use in the fishing industry and
for turtling, while there is a small market in Jamaica for "line
rope". This is a fine 2-strand rope used for caning seats, stools, etc.
The present price (December, 1945) paid to the producer is
60/- per thousand fathoms: in 1938 it was 15/- per thousand fathoms.
There is no doubt that the price will fall from the present level
when other hard fibres are again on the market. All purchases for
export are controlled by the Competent Authority. The wholesale
price in Kingston is 75/- per M: the break-down is as follows:-
To producer .... ... .... 60/-
To shipper, buying commission, etc. 8/- to 8/6
Freight to Jamaica .... .... 6/-

74/- to 74/6

The quality of the rope is somewhat variable and the following
malpractices occur:

(1) Use of green leaf in twisting (resulting in improper drying
of the interior leaf).
(2) Use of adulterants (grass, coconut leaf, etc.), in the filling.
(3) Short lengths (it is usual for the standard "25 fathoms"
length to be 22-24 fathoms).
In addition to rope-making, hats, bags and baskets are made for
local use from plaited thatch, while the expanded leaves are used,
extensively in some parts, for thatching buildings.

(g) Imports and Exports
The following table indicates the principal timber and wood
products imported during the last decade:-
Lumber Shingles Furni- Total
iQuantit i
(b.f.) Value Numbel Value Value Value
1935 I 109,000 E 659 2,000 16 18 693
1936 110 000 725 33 758
1937 .i 66,000 515 3.000 20 65 600
1938 .. 187,000 1.119 10,000 71 28 1.218
1939 .. 154,000 1,183 37,000 46 4 1,233
Av. 1935-39 125,000 840 10,400 31 30 901

Lumber Shingles Furni- Total
(b.f.) Value Numbej Value Value Value
1840 .. 105,000 1,061 16,000 70 1,131
1941 80,000 1,017 20.000 60 34 1,111
1942 201.000 3,581 9,000 59 57 3,697
1943 .. 15,000 454 2,000 15 21 490
1944 24,000 597 8,000 27 37 661

Av. 1940-44 85,000 1,342 11,000 46 30 :1,418

The bulk of the imported lumber is pine from the Gulf ports
of the United States of America, with lesser quantities from Nicara-
gua. There are also small quantities of mahogany and cedar from
British Honduras, cypress from the southern states of the U.S.A.,
fir from Canada, and hewn timbers from the Isle o-Pines. Shingles
are from the United States of America and a few from Jamaica:
furniture is from the United States of America. Import duties
are levied at a flat rate of 121% ad valorem c.i.f.


The following table indicates the exports of forest produce from
the Cayman Islands during the last decade:-

i Mangrove Maho-
Rope. Bark. gany Logwood. Total
No. of
Fathoms Value Tons Value Value Tons Value Value

1935 .. 1.539,000 1,539 109 348 245 438 2,325
1936 .. 1,929,000 1,456 22 74 1,530
1937 .. 1,322,000 1,019 28 69 1088
1938 ..1,487000 1,858 166 452 25 2,335
1939 1,444,000 1,526 21 69 1,595

Av. 1935-39 1.544,000 1,479 69 202 5 49 88 1,775

Mangrove Maho-
Rope. Bark. gany Logwood. Total
No. of
Fathoms Value Tons Value Value Tons Value Value

1940 .. 1,864,000 2,001 133 383 2,384
1941 1,456,875 2,185 144 424 2,609
1942 ..1,507,30 2.550 205 615 3,165
1943 i 1,404,750 3603 5 4 3,607
1944 1,101,575 3,256 -3,256
Av. 1940-4411,466,000 2,719 97 285 3,004

In addition to the above two yachts were exported to England
in 1938 (value 900) and one to the United States of America in
1940 (value 338). Otherwise all exports are to Jamaica.
(Further data regarding the export of thatch rope and thatch
line has been received after the completion of the report. This data
is included as Appendix C.)
3. Forest Legislation
No legislation affecting forestry products exists. Under the
Defence Regulations (now rescinded) certain regulations were made
covering the following:-
15/12/39 Export of mahogany prohibited except under licence:
no mahogany to be cut except under licence: no ma-
hogany with a girth of less than 22" at 3' from the
ground to be cut for export.
12/12/41 Export of timbers of classes used for ship building
1939-41 Regulations covering the export of thatch rope and
protection of trees.


1. General Forest Policy
(1) To conserve and develop the production of native timbers
for ship building, house construction and other purposes,
and to' limit wasteful production methods.
(2) To conserve Thatch Palms for rope-making and other
(3) To develop minor industries, such as furniture-making and
extension of the uses of Thatch.

2. Implementation of The Forest Policy
(a) Surveys
The complete absence of topographic maps of the Cayman
Islands and the often chaotic state of property boundaries are for-
midable bars to any form of planning or development. Until com-
plete topographic and cadastral surveys are undertaken it will be
impossible to carry out the major recommendations set out below.
This applies with equal force to agricultural development and
the improvement of internal communications. We strongly recom
mend that an aerial survey and cadastral survey be undertaken: in
connection with the latter it will be necessary, presumably, to enact
legislation empowering an officer to inquire into land claims and
providing for an Arbitration Board in cases of dispute.
(b) Forest Reserves
In view of the uncertainty of ownership in many of the wooded
areas it is impossible to make specific recommendations for Forest
Reservations. On completion of the Cadastral Survey all unclaimed
lands, incapable of agricultural or other development, should be
declared Forest Reserves and managed with a view to timber, fuel
and thatch production.
The introduction of timber royalties from Forest Reserves need
careful consideration. Many wooded areas known as "free cliff" or
"free lands" have been treated as communal areas for many gener-
ations and any person has the tacitly-accepted right to take timber
or thatch from such lands. Nevertheless, the cutting of timber on
these lands must be controlled to avoid wasteful practices.
(c) Mahogany
Mahogany is widely distributed throughout Grand Cayman, not
only in woodland on the Bluff Formation, but in pastures and asso-
ciated with Buttonwood in swampy areas. Trees of large diameter
(up to 4') are found in the more inaccessible regions, though height
growth is very limited and clear boles of 10' are uncommon. The

timber of mahogany is used for a wide variety of purposes, includ-
ing the rails of field gates and even firewood! For these purposes
young saplings, sometimes not exceeding 4" in diameter, are cut
down. This utterly wasteful proceeding should be statutorily con-
trolled. Mahogany springs up naturally, often in great profusion.
in pastures where large numbers are burnt annually. In many dis-
tricts it is the practice to clean pastures by running fire through
them to destroy weeds, particularly Maiden Plum; and any trees
standing in the pastures are destroyed at such times. There is no
reason why a number of mahogany trees should not be left in the
pastures and the cleaning of fire traces round such trees before firing
should be obligatory. In the vicinity of Georgetown and West Bay,
where the soil is very shallow, some persons clean their pastures by
grubbing up the weeds, to the advantage both of the pasture and
the trees.
(d) Thatch
There appear to be ample supplies of Thatch Palm to meet pres-
ent and future needs on Grand Cayman; but the present position on
the lesser islands has not been investigated. The industry is a valu-
able source of cash income for the poorer people, but it will be
necessary to compete against cheaper, hard fibres when present prices
return to normal.

There appear to be 3 methods by which this can be achieved:
(1) Reduction in production costs.
(2) Maintenance of high standard of quality.
(3) Opening of new markets.
The possibility should be explored of introducing partial mechan-
isation of the rope-making, to lower the cost of output. We under-
stand that proposals are being put forward for the development of
cottage industries and we feel that a small power-driven outfit, run
co-operatively at each major rope-making centre, might well be
considered under this scheme. A good case exists for the main-
tenance of Government inspection prior to shipment, to maintain
uniform quality of rope. The opening of new markets for the "line"
rope should be investigated: this excellent material has been used
exclusively for the seats and backs of all chairs in the Forest Depart-
ment office in Jamaica and is most satisfactory, but is, at present,
only used commercially by the Institute for the Blind in Kingston
It is understood that enquiries regarding thatch rope and line
have been received in the islands from New York, California and
(e) Boat Building
We believe that the traditional skill of the Caymanians as ship-
wrights will find a place even in a highly mechanised age: apart
from the demand for schooners in the Caribbean we feel that there
will be an increasing demand for private yachts and other small
pleasure craft. It is believed that there will be a number of people
who will still prefer a hand-framed Caymanian yacht, built to their

own specifications, to a mass-produced vessel. It is therefore vital
to ensure that the necessary framing timbers are available, by pro-
tection of existing timber trees, and reduction of wastage and
destruction of young timber. The Government should also have
statutory power to control the export of ship-building timber. Leg-
islative control is suggested below.
(f) Roads
There arq certain areas on the north and in the central portions
of Grand Cayman which are, at present, virtually inaccessible but
which contain some marketable timber: there is, however, no justifi-
cation for building roads into such areas, solely for timber production.
Any such projects for construction of roads, or even bridle paths,
should be based on general, including agricultural, development.
Pending topographic surveys any specific recommendations are im-
(g) Legislation
There is no reason why steps should not be taken to draft the
necessary legislation to give effect to the above suggestions are
appended. (See Appendix A).
(h) Staff
It is recommended that a Caymanian be selected as a Forest
Ranger. in the first place to carry out inspections, to see that the
proposed legislation is enforced and later to take charge of any
Forest Reserves. He should undergo about three months' training
in Jamaica and should receive a motor cycle allowance. If an Agri-
cultural Officer is to be appointed, it might be well for the Forest
Ranger to be directly responsible to him. An annual inspection
should be paid by the Conservator of Forests, Jamaica, or his repre-
sentative, who should, at the earliest opportunity, inspect Cayman
Brac and Little Cayman with a view to their inclusion into the For-
estry Programme of the Dependency.

(i) Silvicultural Operations
Given adequate protection there is every reason to believe that
natural regeneration of Mahogany and Thatch Palm will be sufficient
to meet requirements on Grand Cayman. At a later date, it might
be desirable to make studies in regeneration and growth of Mahogany
and T'hatch Palm at the Agricultural Station, for which we under-
stand proposals are being made. If Forest Reserves are established
it will obviously be desirable to draw up plans for their management.
(j) Finance

We are not in a position to make any estimate of the cost of
topographic and cadastral surveys. This should be considered in
relation to the general development of the Dependency. Similarly
with regard to Forest Reserves, this must await completion of the
cadastral survey.
The immediate expenditure visualised is purely protective.

Estimated Expenditure-Non-recurrent
Training Forest Ranger in Jamaica ....

Estimated Annual Expenditure
Forest Ranger .... ....
Motor Cycle Allowance
Annual Visit, Officer from Jamaica
Uniform, and Sundries ....

.... 100
.... 40
.... 30
.... 3


No direct revenue can be visualised as a result of our immediate
recommendations. The question of royalties from Forest Reserves
must be considered later.
We cannot help being struck, however, by the absence of any
land tax, which not only results in aggregation of land holdings but
absolves the larger land-owner from contributing proportionately
to the provision of public services, from which he benefits. It would
seem desirable to introduce a more equitable tax structure into the
Dependency and we suggest that this might receive consideration.


(Note : This merely indicates the scope of the proposed Law and is
not in Legal form)

1. The Commissioner may declare any Crown Land to be a Forest Reserve and
may make regulations, with regard to the cutting or removing of any forest
produce thereon and such other regulations as may be necessary for the
management of Forest Reserves.
2. The Commissioner may make regulations,
(a) with regard to mahogany growing within the Dependency regulat-
ing the protection of mahogany from fire, the minimum size below
which mahogany may not be cut, the purposes for which mahogany
may be used,
(b) with regard to Thatch Palm trees growing within the Dependency,
prohibiting or regulating the destruction of trees,
(c) with regard to the export of thatch-rope, regulating the licensing
of exporters, and defining the quality of rope which may be exported.
3. The Commissioner may appoint such and so many persons to be Forest
Officers as may be necessary for the carrying out of this Law and of regula-
tions thereunder.
4. It shall be lawful for a Forest Officer to enter any premises for the purpose
of inspection or if he suspects the occurrence of any breach of Law or of
regulations made thereunder.
5. A Forest Officer may seize any forest produce in respect of which an offence
has been committed: the examining magistrate may, at his discretion,
order the forfeiture of such produce to the Crown.
6. Any person who is found guilty of an offence under this Law or regulations
made thereunder shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding .
7. The Commissioner may prohibit or control the export of mahogany or any
other forest produce.


(Note : These regulations merely indicate the suggested scope of the
regulations and are not in legal form)
1. No person shall cut down, remove or use any mahogany tree or the timber
of any mahogany tree save and except for the purposes of boat-building,
house construction and furniture making, unless he obtains a permit in
writing from an authorised officer.
2. No person shall cut down any mahogany tree less than 2' girth at 3' from
the ground without a permit in writing.
3. No person shall burn or permit to be burnt any mahogany tree.
4. If fire is set to any land, a clear space not less that 20' in diameter shall
be cleared round every mahogany tree in such a way that the trees are not
damaged by the fire.
5. No person shall use green Thatch in the making of rope for export.
6. No person shall use any other material other than the leaf of the Thatch Palm
(Thrinax argentea) in the making of rope for export.
7. No person, other than a licensed exporter, may export thatch rope and nu
rope may be exported without a certificate of inspection, signed by an
authorised officer.
8. Every consignment of thatch rope must be submitted to an authorised
officer for inspection. The officer may refuse to issue a certificate of
inspection for any rope which falls below the following standard,



Summary of Annual Shipments of Rope from Cayman Islands to the various Distributors in Jamaica-1941 to 1945

Adolph Levy
& Bro., Kgn., Ja.




& Co., Blk




Kirkham &
Co., Savla-
mar, Ja.




Kerr & Co.
Montego Bay




Kirkconnel Bros
Lucea, Jamaica









4 2,185. 6. 3.
2,550. 5. 6.
3,602. 14. 7.
3,255 17. 9.
5,874. 11. 3.

17,468. 15. 4.

3,493. 15. 1.

NOTE: During 1945 all rope shipped to Kingston, Jamaica, to Messrs. Adolph Levy & Bro.

* August and October Hurricanes.

Competent Authority.

Date: 31st December, 1945.

Ag. Commissioner,
Competent Authority,
Cayman Islands.



Total for
5 yrs...
Av. for
5 yrs..

APPENDIX C-Continued

Summary of Rope shipped from Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac to Jamaica, Years 1941 to 1945

Grand Cayman Value




2,426. 3.2
3,323. 8.4

Cayman Brac



124. 2.4
279. 6.3
241. 1.6
423. 0.0


5 years
5 years

3,226. 6.5


267. 8.8

Total Quantity


Total Value

2 2,185. 6.3
2%550. 5.6

7,037,050 17,468.15.4



* August and October Hurricanes.

Competent Authority.

Ag. Commissioner.
Competent Authority,
Cayman Islands.

Date: 31st December, 1945.

16,131.12.0 556,550 1,337. 3.4

APPENDIX C-Continued



Year Fathoms Value

1942 .. .. 32,600 71. 18. 6.
1943 .. .. 21,975 49. 8. 10.
1944 .. .. 22,850 64. 6. 8.
1945 .. .. 73,125 274. 3. 6.

160,540 459. 17. 6.


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No. 10. Principles of Prison Reform:
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